Violent Venues Scheme

On the 31st May 2012, Hon. George Souris M.P. Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, Minister for the Arts released the revised list of violent venues in NSW subject to special conditions on the latest alcohol violence statistics. The violent venues scheme commenced in 2008 to regulate licensed premises with high levels of assault incidents. Statistics from the 2011 calendar year show “… seven venues recorded 19 or more assaults in a 12 month period and would be subject to Level 1 restrictions for the next 6 months…. 24 venues recorded 12 and 18 violent incidents in a year to be classified as Level 2 premises…”

Mr. Souris said, “The NSW Government’s Three Strikes disciplinary scheme has provided unprecedented motivation for all licensed venues to lift their game or risk the ultimate sanction – loss of license – and this is reflected in the achievements highlighted by the revised list of violent venues…it is now crystal clear that we will crack down on venues that allow themselves to become magnets for alcohol-fueled violence and anti-social behavior that threatens public safety.. and those refusing to curb alcohol-related violence will also suffer the consequence of tougher operating restrictions and possible licence suspension or cancellation if they continue to commit liquor law breaches under our Three Strikes disciplinary scheme”.

The ongoing review of the violent venues scheme by the NSW Government highlights its ongoing effectiveness. The NSW Government will be continuing to expand the police presence at venues, exercising their powers over intoxicated and disorderly offences as well as trialling sobering up centres in the future.

The Three Strikes disciplinary scheme, which runs parallel with the violent venue scheme aims to reduce incidents and bring about a greater level of administrative and operational accountability to licensees.

The impositions that are placed on the licensee conditions for Category 1 and Category 2 are restrictive and enforceable. Category 3 (8 to 11 assaults) allow for educational support and other systems from the OLGR.

The alcohol and incident management strategies introduced by the NSW Government through the violent venues and the three strikes disciplinary schemes are designed to reduce alcohol related incidents, anti-social behaviour and to bring about a greater level of accountability for licensees. What this means to clubs is that they need to review their Business practices and internal processes to identify and eliminate licensing or regulatory risk.

Each business unit within the club maintains accountability. Customer and Incident Management is no different. Risk and Compliance now has a clear focus with considerable consequences for the licensees. A clear business strategy and an implementation plan is required to manage your Risk and Compliance obligations consistent with best practice principles and for operational and administrative accountability. As the licensee is now liable for the acts of employees, your front line staff become your greatest asset and liabilities depending on their skill, understanding and management of incidents, especially prescribed offences covered by the act.

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research indicate that there is a 14.3% fall in alcohol-related assaults in clubs over the past two years. Clearly the clubs have had a positive shift in managing incidents. We can further refine this by putting in processes that add greater value to membership, modifying patron behaviour through membership induction, education and citation programs to reduce incidents.

There are many other considerations to include in your Risk and Compliance Management Program, which the Director General will certainly take into consideration if the venue is subjected to Second or Third strikes under the disciplinary scheme.

This program of incident and risk management does work and Michael Lavorato was the first CEO (Campbelltown Catholic Club) to be charged under the new Liquor Laws in 2008. The Risk Management program as described was part of the system that was established at the Campbelltown Catholic Club which Magistrate Pearce found in favour, stating “considerable amount of evidence of the procedures that have been adopted as well as the training of staff and managers”….”the club had taken all reasonable steps”.Campbelltown Catholic Club has moved from being a Category 1 venue to a Category 3, with 8 incidents last quarter.

Shellharbour Workers Club Ltd was the first registered club to be issued a strike in February 2012, under the disciplinary scheme and has now committed to the Allied Risk and Compliance Management Program. Shelly’s is taking the initiative to be proactive, implementing a strong framework for best practice in risk and compliance.

When fully developed they will have transparent operational and administrative procedures in place, trained managers and staff within a quality system focussed on reducing alcohol related incidents.

The Allied Risk Management program is localised to the specific venue, is industry specific with a comprehensive process of accountability, training and reporting that addresses inefficiencies and better manages compliance in keeping with new legislative requirements. Click here to review our Risk Compliance Management Program

For an obligation free review of your security management program please contact Sam Ekinci by email  or call 02 9635 0477.