23/02/2009 10:47:00 AM
TWO Wagga pubs branded as being among the worst in the state for
alcohol-related crime hit back yesterday, saying the data used to accuse
them was irrelevant and outdated.
The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday published statistics from the NSW
Police Alcohol Linking Program that showed
the Victoria Hotel was linked to the sixth highest number of incidents in
NSW between October, 2007 and July, 2008, and Romano's Hotel was linked
to the ninth highest.
Another unnamed licensed Wagga premises was also in the top 20.
According to the Herald, the Victoria Hotel was linked to 327 incidents,
including 67 assaults, 59 street offences and 57 refusals to obey a
police direction to move on.
Romano's reportedly was linked to 304 incidents, including 83 refusals to
move on, 63 traffic offences and 59 street offences.
Under the linking program, police attending an incident ask a number of
questions, including did the person involved in the incident drink
alcohol before the event and where did they have their last drink.
The incident can occur kilometres away from the pub.
Romano's manager Wayne Mutton said the statistics overstated a hotel's
involvement in incidents.
"If someone leaves here and drives home it is linked to our hotel, but we
don't have any control over that," Mr Mutton said.
He said the high number of refusals to move on linked to Romano's could
be put down to the Wagga police station being close to his pub and was
actually a sign of pro-active policing.
Head of the Wagga Police Local Area Command, Superintendent Frank
Goodyer, said the alcohol linking data was a useful policing tool but was
not used by police to seek trading conditions on hotels.
While the statistics in the Herald paint a black picture of Romano's,
Superintendent Goodyer said the hotel had not been an issue for police
for the past 10 or 11 months.
Victoria Hotel licensee Lynn Stewart said her hotel had been proactive in
trying to prevent alcohol-related crime.
Measures included no shots after midnight and having 10 security staff on
duty on Friday and Saturday nights.
"We have had 7000 or 8000 people here this week and there has not been
one incident on the premises," Ms Stewart said.
"I don't think drink driving or refusing to move on offences should come
back on the hotel.
"We don't put a lot of faith in linking data; it's unsubstantiated and
between 12 and 18 months old," Mr Mutton said.