In Law & Order

Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy Peter Styles

Alcohol And Violent Crime

Victor P Taffa

Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy Peter Styles has moved to clarify his position on alcohol and its impact on violent crime in the Northern Territory.

“My comments in a media release issued last month served to confuse public perception of the Country Liberals position because they inferred that there is no significant correlation between alcohol supply and violent crime.” Mr. Styles said.

“It is indeed a fact that alcohol is a significant factor in criminal activity and violent crime, and that is why the Country Liberals have outlined a clear strategy to reduce the impact of alcohol through a range of measures, not just alcohol restrictions.”

“Our policy focuses on reducing the demand for alcohol through enhanced alcohol rehabilitation services, a tougher approach to habitual drunks and the establishment of prison farms to send a very clear signal that problem drinkers and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.” Mr. Styles said.

“While alcohol restrictions have seen a reduction in wholesale alcohol consumption in some Territory regions, this does not apply across the board, and in many cases violent crime is still spiralling out of control.”

“For instance in Alice Springs between 2008 and 2009, there has been a 9% increase in alcohol consumption, even though draconian alcohol restrictions apply in the town. As well, in the 12 months to July 2010, violent crime increased by 25%.” Mr. Styles said.

“In Palmerston, wholesale alcohol consumption increased by 4% between 2008 and 2009, while violent crime in the 12 months to July 2010 increased by 25%.”

“On the other hand, in Tennant Creek, wholesale alcohol consumption dropped by 1% while violent crime in the 12 months to July 2010 increased by 16%.” Mr. Styles said.

“These figures hardly provide a ringing endorsement of the effectiveness of the Government’s grog bans.”

“What they show is that in some of major population centres, alcohol consumption has actually increased in spite of grog bans, and violent crime is out of control.”

“It is time for the Henderson Government to stop taking the easy road of simply putting in place restrictions which impact on responsible drinkers, and start putting some real investment into preventative measures which support people to take responsibility for their own lives.” Mr. Styles said.

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