'Profiteering' industry must act on grog harm: Police Association


Sir – Once again police are being blamed for harm within the Alice Springs community.
The individuals and organisations who continue to blame police resource allocation need to take the argument to the very people who sell the alcohol, the takeaway outlets themselves, and the alcohol industry in general, whose inaction and reliance on finite police resources has resulted in unrealistic community expectations.
If a member of the community makes a conscious decision to harm another, that is their choice, and not the fault of police.
An important point to note is there was no funding to provide an extra 60 police officers required to stand at bottle shops. They have come from existing resources.
The impact on this is evident Territory wide, and the taxpayer is left to foot the bill, while the very people profiteering from the sale of the alcohol contribute next to nothing.
The Riley review recognises the strain on police resources, and recommends the Liquor Act be amended and police be removed from this arduous task in favour of liquor inspectors.
Let’s start talking about this approach, rather than go over old ground. It would be nice to hear as much commentary thanking the police for the incredibly difficult job they do in towns, where ongoing and systematic failed government policy on the alcohol industry has resulted in police picking up the pieces on the frontline, time and time again.
If you want to make comment about the police on bottle shops, make sure you ask yourself first, what you or your organisation has done to c ontribute to change , because our police are doing all they can, and more.
Paul McCue (pictured)
NT Police Association President


  1. Rubbish. The police are not being blamed for harm within the Alice Springs Community. Nice way to get people offside with your concerns.
    Yes, every policeman I have spoken to dislikes (putting it mildly) bottle shop duties and also everyone of them acknowledge that by being there they have reduced alcohol related violence.
    Yet again you give us the line “The Riley review recognises the strain on police resources, and recommends the Liquor Act be amended and police be removed from this arduous task in favour of liquor inspectors”. Strangely enough we don’t agree.
    Removing officers from outlets would be a massive backward step, as you know full well that the problem drinkers have some respect for the police but NONE for a liquor inspector.

  2. What power does a business have to stop humbugging drunks drinking grog in the Todd mall at 7pm?
    Alcohol is a legal product. Providing the licencees abide by the BDR (which they are), do not sell to intoxicated people (of which no accusations have been made) and that the purchasers are over 18, then the licensee has done their job.
    Their next duty is to ensure the safety of their staff – which is perhaps one argument for private security.
    But then again, should crime not be managed by police? Should business have to pay the price? Should bottle shops or their hired security be responsible for questioning purchasers and using their discretion as to who should or should not buy alcohol if they have already passed the other test of the BDR, intoxication and age?
    As such, this is a police duty. As boring and hated as it is. As inefficient as it may seem. It works. Alice Springs has descended into crime and thuggery since the removal of TBLs. Certainly resources may need to be increased to manage this task, but it is only the police with the authority and jurisdiction to get the job done.

  3. Many industries externalise the cost of their waste product onto the tax payer. But just because its legal, it doesn’t mean that it’s ethical.
    I understand that where markets fail, government has a duty to step in. But arguing for tax payers to pick up the cost by policing bottle shops and cleaning our streets is a shame job: A user pays system would give responsibility to the consumer.
    I’d like to see all containers clearly labelled to identify their point of origin and a by-law that gives the town council license to charge bottle shops for picking up their waste.
    Maybe this strategy would force the floor price of cheap wine to finally move upward.

  4. Perhaps the answer is to put a levy on alcohol sales.
    This could be based sales. There was a similar thing discussed about private health cover for smokers.
    Unsure who would manage the money because the NT Government is inept at managing money, plus I wouldn’t trust them.
    The collected levies could be used to fund the security at the grog shops. After all they are the major contributor to this issue. (I get it’s not ideal, but short of making alcohol and illegal substance, what are the other VIABLE options?)
    Perhaps it’s private security firms that need to be at the grog shops, rather than the police.
    It would not be difficult to calculate the levy because the government would already know the sales figures. They should be able to do this simple number crunch.
    For this out of control issue to be managed, everyone will need to feel some pain.
    The fact that it has been allowed to go on for so long, only makes the pain a bit worse, initially.

  5. Brilliant. Peter is spot on, the police do a terrific job and should not bear the brunt of the choices that people make.
    Could someone tell me why there are not warnings on bottles / tins of alcohol letting people know what damage it can cause (as with tobacco)?
    I am also amazed that no one has sued alcohol manufacturers for the damage that alcohol has done to them (as with tobacco).
    Liquor inspectors sounds like a great idea.

  6. Long winded contemplations, blame focus, finger pointing and solutions mostly unattainable within a time frame that will see the town come to its lowest point are nothing more than a joke.
    Reality is that cops at the grog shops work. Proactive policing at its best.
    Since when did the members decide when and where they will attend?
    No doubt the beats are irritating and less than stimulating but remember every police officer takes an oath to serve and if the beat is your shift of the day get on with it – it’s what the majority of citizens of this town want.
    So as many have said, Gunner and Co listen to the voice of the people.

  7. @ Chris2: I’m unsure where you get your comment from: “It’s what the majority of citizens of this town want.”
    What I think people want is to be able to live their lives in peace and not be threatened, sworn at, assaulted, or have their property vandalised or stolen.
    So you need police for that. Whilst standing at the grog shops is not what I call real police work, they (police) should be on the beat.
    Let the taxpayer funded NGOs provide the people for the grog shops and let the police do their serve and protect of us innocent bystanders.


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