TOUGHER restrictions on licensed venues in Newcastle only reduced assaults for the first 12 months so closing Orange venues early will not curb violence according to Royal Hotel licensee Tony McClure.
Mr McClure believes the answer could be installing identification scanners.
In 2008 in Newcastle according to stats from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, there were 299 assaults at a licensed venue. The following year after tougher restrictions, including early closure were enforced, that figure dropped by 37 per cent to 233 assaults.
But by 2010 the number of assaults crept up to 284 and was 270 in 2011.
At that point the Newcastle Entertainment Precinct was formed by licensees and pub owners to deal with the problems themselves.
One of their solutions was to install scanners at all late night venues.
In the following year, the number of assaults in licensed premises dropped back down to 225.
“I’ve been looking at the pros and cons of trying to do something here,” Mr McClure said.
“We need to introduce a system where [patrons] go, oh they know who I am.”
Mr McClure said if the patrons know their details are recorded and they can potentially be banned from all venues in Orange they will soon get the idea to behave or be banned.
“People don’t want to sit out in the street when their friends are in having a good time,” he said.
The system requires cooperation from all licensees.
Newcastle pub owner Rolly de With said scanners are not the only answer but believed they are the most effective.
“They won’t work everywhere, there needs to be local solutions for local problems but I think they could work in Orange,” he said.
“In a closed community like Orange, it’s small enough that word permeates and they will behave and straighten themselves out.”
Mr McClure believes members of the liquor industry can help combat alcohol-related violence without the need for tougher regulations.
“What are the kids going to do when you close pubs?” he said.
“They will have parties at Lake Canoboloas, Bloomfield Park, anywhere where there is a vacant block.”