On Wednesday, 27 November 2013, Broome Police restricted all licensed premises which were offering a takeaway service in the town, from being able to sell more than one carton of mid or low strength beer to any customer and from supplying liquor to passengers in taxis via drive through bottle shop facilities.
The restrictions were invoked in the wake of ongoing violence between feuding families, which Police believed was being exacerbated by the consumption of packaged liquor.
Section 114 of the Liquor Control Act empowers a member of the Police Force to close licensed premises or cease the sale, supply or consumption of liquor on or from licensed premises if:
civil disorder, a breach of the peace or a threat to public safety is occurring or is likely to occur; and
in the interests of maintaining the peace or ensuring public safety it is or may be desirable to do so.
Orders under this section have the potential to significantly impact upon the normal operations and profitability of licensed premises. Further fines for non compliance up to $10,000 can be imposed.
This recent action by Police is consistent with the general crack down and hard-line being taken by Police across the State towards alcohol sale, supply and consumption in situations which are seen to have the potential for problems.
This example serves as a timely reminder to licensees particularly during the “silly season” of the powers that Police can exercise and the importance of strictly abiding by licence obligations, harm minimisation plans and responsible service of alcohol guidelines.