145 charges in Easter blitz
145 charges in Easter blitz

The fight against drunken violence in pubs and clubs over the Easter break began last night with 145 charges laid across the State.

Operation Unite targets excessive alcohol consumption at a main source as part of a national blitz on alcohol-fuelled trouble.

Three strike teams, including riot squad officers, are patrolling inside venues to crack down on problem drinkers before they spill on to the streets and penalise licensees and bar staff who serve drunken patrons or juveniles.

Operation Unite is targeting bad behaviour in hotspots such as Northbridge, Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandurah.

Last night there were 54 arrests and 71 summonses issued. There were 11 charges for assault, 4 licensing breaches (and 8 additional liquor cautions) and 19 charges for possessing a prohibited drug.

As part of the operation 1,627 people were randomly breath tested.

Of these people two were found to be drinking under the influence, 14 were in excess 0.08, six were in excess 0.05 and one was in excess 0.02.

Ninety-six move-on notices were issued and there were five arrests for breach of a move-on notice.

WA Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said excessive alcohol consumption was still the most significant factor contributing to night-time violence — on the streets and in homes.

About 60 per cent of police call-outs had a “connection to an alcohol-related incident” and officers attended about 1000 alcohol-related incidents last Operation Unite.

Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said good operators welcomed a professional uniformed police presence at licensed premises to encourage responsible patron behaviour but criticised the term “strike teams”.

“This weekend is no different to any other weekend — when there is an ongoing onus on licensees and staff to serve alcohol responsibly and, similarly, it is no different to patrons who are also accountable under the law for their behaviour,” he said.

Mr O’Callaghan also urged people to take responsibility for their mates, believing many problems could be prevented if someone in a group took control.

The West Australian

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