Police raided one problematic Oxford St venue on Saturday night, and promised more will follow in the coming weeks.
Havana licensee Ben Cooper confirmed it was his venue targeted last weekend and he would be replacing his security contractors this week.
Five police squads, including the riot squad, made numerous arrests with charges ranging from assault, malicious damage, resist arrest, and not comply with move on direction to several breaches of licensing conditions.
One security guard was arrested for an earlier assault, with the Security Industry Registry indicating his licence may be revoked.
However, Cooper said there was only one charge against the venue itself at this point, that of a teenage girl intoxicated on her birthday that would result in a fine.
They’re calling it a business audit, and while more heavy-handed than what they’ve done in the past they basically just checked everybody’s licences and RSAs. I don’t imagine there’ll be any ongoing problems, he said.
I know there has been an ongoing issue between police and the security company we had been using to date, but nothing to do with the venue.
He said police recommended he switch to the same security who manage the Exchange Hotel.
Assistant Commissioner Cath Burn said police had stepped up the measures to combat alcohol-related crimes and licensing breaches since October, and this would not be the last of these raids on Oxford St hotels.
We targeted a problem premises and we’ll be targeting more in the next few weeks. We’ve had continuous problems with this venue. If they’re not complying we have to take action, she said.
I think we’re making headway. I can tell it’s making a difference because of the reports I get on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning, but there’s still a long way to go.
Visible policing and covert operations would continue, she said, as would approaching individual licensees about increasing their security and implementing a voluntary lockout.
Most of us like to go to a hotel and have a drink, but we don’t want to be victims. We still have violence to deal with. Just last weekend there was report of a glassing.
One officer attached to the Public Order and Riot Squad suffered ligament damage to his ankle while breaking up an assault.