Temporary Beat Locations – are they on or not?


p2257-public-drinkers-1LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw must immediately allocate sufficient resources for Temporary Beat Locations (TBLs) at Territory take-away liquor outlets.
In the past week police have been conspicuously absent on most days hot spot bottle shops in Alice Springs such as the Todd Tavern, the Gapview Hotel and the Eastside and Northside IGAs.
The adverse effects are immediate and distressing for the whole community. What is going on?
Last Thursday for example, PAAC members noticed people drunk, arguing and fighting around the Todd river bed in the presence of children, and others sitting outside the Eastside IGA drinking from bottles of wine.
Police were contacted about the former incident but rang back to say no-one was available to attend. Dr. Boffa says it’s not good enough by a long shot.
TBLs prevent a lot of harm including assaults and child abuse by deterring people from purchasing take-away liquor.
This has been widely accepted, including by the current CLP Government, which introduced and supports TBLs in their current form.
When they are not in place and there are violent offences including sexual assaults, we need to ask if these incidents were preventable.
NT Police said months ago that by the end of April there would be coverage of all Alice Springs take-away outlets during opening hours. Additional staffing will always be needed for major events like the Finke race and the Show. It’s not an excuse. TBLs were effectively supposed to become PBLs – Permanent Beat Locations.
This has not occurred and the families and communities of problem drinkers will bear the brunt of drinkers’ access to grog due to the sporadic TBL presence.
Police and Licensing data shows greatly reduced liquor sales and rates of offending, including assaults, since TBLs were increased at the direction of the current NT Government.
They are the most effective strategy we have at the moment to reduce alcohol supply.
Is there simply a problem with police rostering? Is there a lack of commitment or is there not the money to pay for them?
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and for Health John Elferink, Police Minister Peter Chandler and the Police Commissioner need to sort this out at once and ensure that there are sufficient police officers to cover all take-away outlets during all opening hours in Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek.
Get TBLS working consistently or investigate alternatives such as the abandoned ID scanning system.
Dr. John Boffa
People’s Alcohol Action Coalition
PHOTO: Drinking wine in the park across the road from Todd Tavern last week.


  1. What needs to be done, is to get police from Victoria or South Australia as they know law.
    The Territory’s police are poor and need to lift their game.

  2. @ Fred: Could you put some examples in order to see if your criticism is justified?

  3. @ Evelyn: I have to agree with Fred. When you see skate boarders riding their boards on the footpath down the mall and police officers walk straight past not saying a word.
    Or a minor accident in the Coles car part where two cars have collided, cop at bottle shop, that’s not my job I’m just here to look after the bottle shop.
    It may have been minor, but still should have gone to see if everyone OK, and report it.
    We’ve got one of the highest number of police per capita here and still we hear of all the crimes around the town.
    And it’s not all due to Indigenous people. Maybe the police here are just not tough enough?

  4. @ Bob the Brewer and Fred the Philistine: Perhaps they’re stretched working for the alcohol industry at the TBLs. ID scanning would free them. See the story on this elsewhere in the Alice Springs News Online.


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