A new community-based program to cut back on `binge drinking' in the central city and Northbridge precincts would help reduce crime and violence, according to Police Minister Bob Wiese.
Launching the new ‘Perth City Accord', Mr Wiese said it was a strategic alliance between police, licensees, the City of Perth and the Health Department to promote safe and controlled drinking practices.
"Perth is a beautiful city at night - both in Northbridge and the central city - and through the spirit of cooperation this new accord will ensure everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy a good night out," he said.
Mr Wiese said that under the Perth City Accord there were 224 licensees who were prepared to adopt a voluntary code of conduct to reduce binge drinking with the aim of decreasing the level of crime and violence.
He said alarming statistics released by the Health Department highlighted a major alcohol problem in some young people with 72 per cent of drinkers in the 18 to 24-year-old age group involved in 'binge drinking' at a harmful level at least one day a week.
"Up to 90 per cent of all late night police calls can be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption with people turning violent, abusive and causing damage," the Minister said.
"Northbridge is an excellent location for families and tourists to go out for a meal and this new community-based accord will ensure both this location and the central city region are safe and comfortable environments."
Mr Wiese said the new Perth City Accord was the first time this type of program had been attempted in a capital city in Australia.
He said the accord was based on the success of a similar program operating in the Fremantle city centre which was launched in March this year.
"The results in Fremantle have been extremely encouraging and local police say under their accord there has been nearly a 15 per cent decrease in the number of assaults and damage occurring in the city area," Mr Wiese said.
Under the Perth City Accord, licensees have agreed to:
· train bar staff in the responsible serving of alcohol - not serving intoxicated people;
· discourage behaviour that may lead to excessive consumption of alcohol, such as, drinking competitions;
· demand photographic identification for proof of age;
· sell reduced alcohol beer cheaper than high strength beer; and -
· encourage availability of food on premises.
Mr Wiese said to ensure that the accord was properly monitored and controlled a Best Practices Advisory Committee had been established.
The committee's role would be to advise licensees on the standards expected and to provide information on planning issues, police involvement and community expectations.
Media contact: Mark Thompson on 322 2311