CHURCH group members in Orange will spend a Saturday night out on the town in the coming weeks to see what really happens in Orange after dark.
On the invitation of police, members of the Orange and District Ministers’ Fraternal are taking the chance to gauge how many people congregate in the streets after midnight, what activities they get up to, how many of them walk to the cab rank and how bad alcohol-related violence is in the central business district.
The invitation came after fraternal spokeswoman Bev Rankin called on late-night trading to cease at midnight in Orange when she addressed the recent Orange Liquor Accord annual general meeting.
Mrs Rankin rejected criticism members of the fraternal knew nothing about Friday and Saturday night trading because it had been years since any of them had been out late.
“We’re youth workers, we deal with young people all the time,” she said.
“Church groups see the end results of alcohol abuse and violence, we see the full extent of all of this.
“We see the people who can’t afford to put dinner on the table and the women who are fleeing domestic violence.”
Mrs Rankin said the purpose of the exercise was to gain a perspective on the Orange night life and to help the police and the community with solutions that might work to curb violence other than to close the pubs early.
“[Senior Constable Ben Hill] has got an idea of maybe setting up a street angels program where people hand out bottles of water or electrolyte drinks and help move people along,” she said.
The program would be run by volunteers.
“The concern is people congregating in the streets, that’s when some of the violence happens,” Mrs Rankin said.
She said the program was one suggestion but after a first-hand account of the Orange night life the Church group might have a different perspective on the problems.