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Police and industry approve of bringing Banned Drinkers Register program to the Mid West

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Mid West-Gascoyne district officer Supt Steve Post.
Camera IconMid West-Gascoyne district officer Supt Steve Post. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

The district’s top cop and a representative of the liquor vendor industry say they approve of a potential plan to bring a Banned Drinkers Register to the Mid West to prevent problem drinkers buying takeaway alcohol.

The BDR is a system, introduced in late 2020 and used in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Goldfields, which requires anyone buying alcohol from a shop to have their identification scanned to see if they are prohibited from buying alcohol.

Last Thursday, Police Minister Paul Papalia said he would be talking with Minister for Racing and Gaming Tony Buti about bringing the program to the Mid West to help address crime.

Mid West-Gascoyne Police District Superintendent Steve Post has been a supporter of the program, and said he was in favour of bringing it to the region.

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“I’m hoping that it will help us control, to a certain extent, the anti-social and family violence issues that occur in the district,” he said.

“It’s just another tool that police can use to help protect the community, in some cases from themselves.”

Not only would it prevent violent behaviour, Supt Post said it would help keep families together and kids off the streets.

“Parents that are not consuming responsibly, and then not fulfilling their responsibilities as parents, and that leads to kids being on the streets and engaging in crime,” he said.

“We see the Banned Drinkers Register as a tool that police can use potentially to limit the amount of alcohol that’s available to people who are identified as having an issue, which will hopefully lead them to taking their parenting responsibilities more seriously.”

While the program has had issues with the low amount of names on the register, with only 200 in a population of 100,000 people on the register according to statistics from September, Supt Post said he was confident the same issue would not be seen in the Mid West.

“We have a strong relationship with other agencies who will refer to us when families or individuals come to our notice,” he said.

Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia CEO Peter Peck agreed that it would be a positive move.

“The BDR is there to prevent problem drinkers from reoffending, so on that alone it is a good thing, but also since it is in place in the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Goldfields, people on the register won’t look at the Mid West as an access to alcohol,” he said.

“It’s not about taking it away, it’s about helping these people deal with their issues through the Department of Health and Department of Communities, and bring them back to the community as an active member.”

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