Violence blamed on outsiders
POLICE have warned out-of-town revellers that alcohol-related violence won't be tolerated following a spate of assaults and arrests over the weekend.
With several football finals played, police reported a large influx of visitors and, while most were well-behaved, police were run off their feet.
Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Bill McKenna said it was an unusual spike in figures and blamed some of the incidents on the out-of-towners who perhaps hadn't got the message.
“We have put a lot of work into partnerships with councils and businesses to make our towns safe, and I want to stress that Lismore is now a very, very safe place,” he said.
Insp McKenna warned offenders that police would continue to show zero tolerance towards alcohol-related violence or antisocial behaviour, particularly late at night.
“It is very disappointing on any occasion to see people out drinking to excess and resorting to violence,” he said.
There were 19 recorded assaults across the Richmond Local Area Command from Woodenbong to Evans Head, and 19 arrests for a range of offences, including assault, drink-driving and the destruction of property.
More than half of the assaults occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning near licensed premises.
NSW Police Association president Sgt Scott Webber backed Insp McKenna's hard line and said 1am lock-outs at licensed premises and 3am curfews on alcohol sales had seen a 33 per cent drop in alcohol-related incidents in some regional towns.
“The latest research shows that 85pc of people in NSW support these moves,” Sgt Webber said, speaking on behalf of Last Drinks – the coalition of emergency service workers including police,paramedics, doctors and nurses who have to clean up after alcohol-related violence.
“Police have drawn a line in the sand. We're sick of a trend on all sides of politics that refers to the Australian Hotels Association's mantra of personal responsibility.
“At 3am when someone's had 20 schooners, there's no personal responsibility going on there.”