Pilbara liquor sales banned after violence

Sophia Constantine and Peter De KruijffNorth West Telegraph
VideoA/Snr Sgt Andrew Ramsden informed us that there had been liquor restrictions imposed on both Port and South Hedland today....listen here for what these restrictions entail.

Takeaway alcohol outlets in Port and South Hedland have been closed following a spate of violent incidents overnight which left one person in an induced coma.

The closure comes on the same day it was revealed that new WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson had written, through his delegate, to the Director of Liquor Licensing requesting that he considered imposing more long-term additional conditions for the sale of booze across the Pilbara.

It is understood there is no link between today’s ban and Mr Dawson’s request.

South Hedland acting Senior Sergeant Andrew Ramsden said today’s closure had been prompted by a series of incidents last night in the Port and South Hedland areas.

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He said the decision to close the outlets had not been taken lightly and would be reviewed early tomorrow morning, adding police were trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s violence.

VideoFrom the archives, November 2016: The Pilbara mining town of Port Hedland is in the grip of an alcohol-fuelled parenting crisis, with dozens of Aboriginal children roaming the streets each night and anti-social behaviour in the town centre rife.

“The hospital was stretched, St John Ambulance was stretched and we were stretched to the limit,” he said.

“There is someone in a medically induced coma as a result of one of the instances last night, so as a result we have introduced liquor restrictions under section 114 of the Liquor Accord Act today.”

The restrictions began at 11am today with all takeaway alcohol banned and licensed premises restricted to serving mid-strength alcohol with a meal. All sales of spirits has been banned.

On the longer-term alcohol restrictions, a WA Police spokeswoman said the force from time-to-time made representations to the Director of Liquor Licensing to limit the supply of alcohol in at-risk communities.

“Restrictions already apply to a number of communities in regional Western Australia to reduce the harm associated with excessive alcohol consumption,” she said.

“The Commissioner, through his delegate, recently wrote to the Director of Liquor Licensing requesting that he consider imposing additional conditions for the Pilbara.

“These relate to the consumption and availability of packaged liquor. As this matter is now before the director, we are unable to provide further detail.

“Should the director consider proposing additional conditions, he would then write to all licence holders in the area seeking their views before making any final determination on the matter.”

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