Alcohol policing helps curb violence in Illawarra hotels

Hotel Illawarra is the sole venue in the Illawarra on the state Violent Venues list for pub assaults. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Hotel Illawarra is the sole venue in the Illawarra on the state Violent Venues list for pub assaults. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Key stakeholders believe the Illawarra's low rates of pub and club violence are validation for the region's alcohol policing strategies.

Just one local venue is on the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's list of NSW's most violent nightspots, the Hotel Illawarra recording 13 violent incidents in the last year.

Sydney's Ivy nightclub once again tops the list with 24 incidents placing it under high-level restrictions.

Hotel Illawarra joins 19 NSW venues on level two restrictions, forcing the Keira Street hotel to cease alcohol service 30 minutes before closing; not serve drinks in glass after midnight; and institute alcohol time-outs or serve free food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight.

Hotel Illawarra has appeared on the list only once before, in June 2010.

The Illawarra has had no more than one venue on each list since 2011, after previously recording up to five venues. In 2009, the Glasshouse was the second most violent venue in NSW with 36 incidents.

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"The reason for this result is licensees and police working together," said Phil Driver, co-chair of Wollongong Liquor Accord.

"Licensing police have done a lot of work to get licensees on-side with police. Venues are talking to each other. Look at the numbers, it's safe and people are taking responsibility for their actions."

Andy Hannelly, president of the Australian Hotels Association's Illawarra sub-branch, similarly praised increased communication.

"We have strong relationships with police and community groups which help improve behaviour," he said.

The Grand Hotel, previously on level two restrictions after 13 incidents between July 2012 and June 2013, was removed from the list after three incidents in the last 12 months. The Hotel Illawarra did not comment.

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