Cops to get tough on Queenscliff drinkers

Andrew Mathieson
POLICE ranks will rise at Queenscliff to battle “outofproportion” boozy behaviour.
Bellarine officers stationed at Ocean Grove will help Queenscliff police “randomly” patrol licensed premises to enforce a new liquor accord.
Queenscliff Sergeant Steve Brand said the steppedup police presence would be part of a threepronged alcohol strategy including increased breathtesting.
“If we’re not available, Bellarine Police will cover us,” Sgt Brand said.
Queenscliff’s liquor accord has been in place for nearly three weeks since concerned stakeholders met on May 11.
Sgt Brand said action to reduce violence, drunken behaviour and property damage in Queenscliff was essential.
Other recent alcoholrelated incidents included the deaths of three soldiers when their car plunged into Swan Bay after a night drinking in Queenscliff.
The accord follows similar action in Geelong to curb violence on city streets.
Queenscliff police have since reported incidents of assaults, offensive behaviour and drinkdriving linked to licensed venues.
“I’ve only been here (in Queenscliff) since October but the number of incidents has been too high for a community this size,” Sgt Brand said.
“Whether it’s escalated or not I don’t know because I haven’t gone back into the history to check it out.
“But in the past six months for the size of the community it’s definitely out of proportion.”
Police believe the inprinciple agreement with licensed venues and community members will minimise unacceptable impacts on residents and other businesses.
Queenscliff council played no part in the accord.
“The accord is not only addressing drunken behaviour but it’s addressing responsible serving of alcohol,” Sgt Brand said.
“That puts the onus on the licensees to ensure there’s minimal negative effect on the community from the serving of liquor.”
Sgt Brand said that under the accord licensees would be more vigorous in refusing entry and might ban misbehaving patrons.