Residents of the Greater Darwin area will need to have proof of an address to buy alcohol this week, as the Director of Liquor Licensing uses emergency powers to target the secondary supply of alcohol.
The restrictions, in place for seven days starting from Monday, September 14, 2020, resemble those in place in Katherine, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
While the crackdown is in place for a week, it “can be extended if necessary”, a statement from police warned.
Liquor licensees will be required to ask customers to present a form of ID which bears a residential address in the Greater Darwin Area, or be satisfied the customer has a place of residence to consume the alcohol.
The tightening of restrictions come as Acting Assistant Commissioner Bradley Currie says there has been a noticeable increase in the illegal smuggling of alcohol into remote communities.
“In recent months, there has been a noticeable increase in ‘grog-running’ to remote communities,” he said.
“In one instance alone, more than 100 bottles of rum were seized.”
Mr Currie said NT Police have seen an increase in alcohol-fueled incidents in remote communities, which are having a significant impact.
“Residents may also be left unable to purchase food, fuel or other essential goods and services,” he said.
It has been three years since the introduction of the Banned Drinker Register, which required all Territorians and visitors to the Northern Territory to present photo ID when buying takeaway alcohol.
The BDR identifies people who are banned from purchasing takeaway alcohol in a bid to curb alcohol-fueled violence.
However, stricter rules around the sale of alcohol have been in place in Katherine, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek for over a year.
In response to a key recommendation of the Riley Review, the NT Government established a team of liquor inspectors, to stand guard at the front of bottle shops, check IDs and request information about where customers will be consuming their purchase.
In August 2019, the NT Government touted alcohol-related hospital admissions across the Territory had decreased compared with the previous financial year, as a result of the stricter rules.
At the time, acting commissioner of Police Michael Murphy said the tougher restrictions and police auxiliary members at bottle shops had contributed to the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm in remote communities.
“Since the introduction of PALI’s in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, we have seen firsthand the positive impact, not only in the drop in alcohol-related assaults, but reductions in hospital admissions, protective custody apprehensions and improved community amenity in public areas,” he said.
“Financial year-on-year statistics show reductions in alcohol-related assaults down by 24 per cent across the entirety of the NT and reductions of up to 40 per cent in Alice Springs, 32 per cent in Tennant Creek and six per cent in Katherine.”
The Director of Liquor Licensing is yet to issue an official statement on the tightening of restrictions.
The use of the emergency power will be reviewed following the seven day period and can be extended if necessary.