With the introduction of the Safe Night Out Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, new obligations have been imposed on designated licensed premises in order to reduce the likelihood of violent and anti-social behaviour in the night life. One example of the proposed obligations is the use of ID scanners by certain licensed premises located in the safe night precinct.
What does it mean?
The proposed legislative requirement means that where a premises is located in a safe night precinct and that premises is authorised to sell or supply liquor between midnight and 5.00 am, that licensed premises has an obligation to use an ID scanner during that time. What this means is that once a licensed premises has an obligation to use ID scanners during the regulated hours, no person is allowed to enter the premises as a patron unless that person produces a photo ID, that photo ID is scanned and the scan indicates that the person is not subject to a banning order for the premises.
Failure to comply with the ID scanner requirements could result in a fine up to $1,100.00.
Who may have a banning order?
Banning orders are a restriction put in place by a police officer or the Court in order to prevent people from entering a licensed venue if that person would pose an unacceptable risk.
Currently, the powers for a police officer or the Court to ban a person from a designated area are limited. With the proposed changes however, a person could be subject to a banning order if:
• the police issue a direction to leave the area and not return for a period up to 24 hours;
• the police issue a banning notice for a period of up to three months; or
• the Court bans an offender for any period of time upon conviction of an offence that involves unlawful violence in or around a licensed premises.
Any person subject to a banning order that subsequently attends a licensed venue could be fined up to $6,600.00.
Who does it impact?
The strategy behind the ID scanners is to introduce a networkable system that communicates with surrounding licensed venues in the designated safe night precinct. The proposed safe night precincts include areas in Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Ipswich and Gold Coast.
Although the system is not uncommon to Australia, the main obstacle that the system attempts to overcome is a balance between business, safety and enjoyment. By prohibiting licensed venues from engaging in practices that encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol, the ID scanners operate in a way that identifies violent and anti-social behaviour among certain people and prevents that person from entering a licensed venue. In effect, the legislative system provides for a safer environment.