The best way to combat any issue is to ask what you can do to change it and then, take action. Five of Newcastle’s late night venues have done just that.
Operating as Newcastle Entertainment Precinct (N.E.P) the licensees of MJ Finnegan’s, The Cambridge Hotel, Queens Wharf Brewery, Fanny’s Nightclub and King Street Hotel, have joined to become a united front to tackle the issue of anti-social behaviour in town. Collectively they will be implementing a number of initiatives in the coming months.
In the first of these, all five venues will implement an ID Scanning System and a uniform code of conduct, with a zero tolerance policy for violence and anti-social behaviour in their premises. The system will work in conjunction with current CCTV technology and will provide a unique ability to instantly share information between the venues. This is the first time such an initiative has been implemented in Newcastle. A form of id scanner has been in place at the Cambridge Hotel for the last 3 years and at Fanny and Finnegan’s since 2011. The new networked system and code of conduct will be simultaneously implemented in all five venues as of this Friday, July 13.
As part of the venues’ united approach, penalties for offenders which range from being barred for three months to being barred indefinitely depending on the nature of the breech, may not only be imposed at the venue where the incident occurred but in all five venues.
Newcastle Entertainment Precinct have invested over $40,000 in putting the ID scanning system in place which has proved effective in other regions such as Geelong and Brisbane.
Newcastle City Police Commander, Supt John Gralton said the introduction of the Newcastle Entertainment Group Barring Policy was a step in the right direction. “I welcome and support the introduction of any initiative aimed at curbing alcohol-related violence in the city of Newcastle.”
Newcastle Entertainment Precinct is continuing to work on further long term plans, which will be announced in the months to come.
Thanks to social media, the five venues have direct communication with tens of thousands of their patrons. They are aware this gives them a unique opportunity to effect change and promote positive social and individual responsibility.
Statistic show problems can often be attributed to a small number of individuals, with most patrons able to enjoy Newcastle’s iconic nightspots without incident. It’s important to send a clear and consistent message to all patrons that there is an expected code of conduct and ensuring are there are genuine deterrents for the small minority who choose to engage in anti-social behaviour. Licensees hope they can collectively combat all activities that are not conducive to a safer Newcastle.
“Now that this first step has been taken, we look forward to working closely with the Police, who like us, are on the front line of this particular battle. An open exchange of ideas and a united front between venues, the police and the community can only be a positive step’ says Michael Hogg, licensee of Queens Wharf Brewery.
Newcastle’s ability to grow as an urban centre is intrinsically linked to creating and maintaining a vibrant nightlife in the city. With these systems in place and future plans which are all designed to create a safer environment, Newcastle Entertainment Precinct feels as a group, they are taking the first important steps towards this goal.
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