Solutions to homophobic crime will be examined by a broader range of agencies as part of a new inner-city partnership program announced by Police Minister David Campbell.

NSW Police, government departments and the City of Sydney will meet monthly to discuss the crime problems facing the CBD, Surry Hills and Kings Cross and strategies to fix them.

Surry Hills Commander and newly appointed police spokeswoman for GLBT issues, Supt Donna Adney, will chair the Mega Crime Prevention Partnership (CPP) for the first six months.

“This new Mega CPP will address drug and alcohol issues in and around licensed premises and community concerns about homophobic violence around the Oxford St area as well as anti-social behaviour within the entertainment corridors,” Campbell said.

He has asked the partnership to consider solutions such as rescheduling public transport to reduce loitering, replacing glasses with plastic cups, and reducing operating hours or forcibly shutting down problem venues.

“It makes sense to use a combined approach as these areas are similar, with high density living, large amounts of licensed premises and they attract a significant number of visitors,” Campbell said.

“This partnership will complement and strengthen the work of the Homophobic Violence Forum late last year.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who will have a representative deputy chair the partnership, endorsed the new approach.

“The group will test new powers under the new Liquor Act to close or reduce hours of operation for problem venues when the new enforcement system comes into force later this year,” Moore said.

She promised an initial focus of the partnership would be to tackle the drug and alcohol problems on Oxford St contributing to homophobic violence.

Supt Adney told SSO the gay and lesbian community would be able to contribute to the considerations via new local Safety Precinct Committees (SPC), which will meet between CPP meetings and feed ideas upwards to the agencies to consider more widely.

“The SPCs will be chaired by police, and populated by community interest groups who want to get together and come up with some collective response or strategy to reduce crime,” Adney said.

“Issues that the different community groups will raise, we will compare with the statistical data that we have and other things that we know.

“We have some unique problems in each command, but we have similar problems in the entertainment district.”

The SPCs replace Police Accountability Community Teams, which in Surry Hills had become hostile debates between some community organisations and the then local commander.

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