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Journal Article


Smith KL, Wiggers JH, Considine RJ, Daly JB, Collins T. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2001; 20(2): 181-191.


(Copyright © 2001, John Wiley and Sons)






The purpose of this study was to investigate the pattern and predictors of police knowledge and attitudes regarding alcohol and crime, the responsible service of alcohol by licensees and proactive alcohol policing strategies. Operational police in the Hunter region of NSW, Australia who attended for duty on a selected weekday were invited to complete a questionnaire during their shift. Two hundred and ninety-eight police participated (77%). Police estimated that 60% of the incidents that they attend are related to the consumption of alcohol, with 44% of such incidents relating to alcohol consumed on licensed premises. Three-quarters of police were able to identify correctly responsible service components of the Liquor Act. A large proportion of police (93%) considered that alcohol servers are responsible for preventing intoxication and that trying to improve licensee serving practices is not a waste of police time (89%). Considerable support (67%) was shown for police using education rather than enforcement as a method for improving licensee responsible service practices. Strong support (92%) was shown for providing information to licensees about alcohol-related incidents associated with their premises. Only 55% of police reported having sufficient skills and 17% reported that sufficient police resources were used to enhance licensee alcohol service practices. The introduction of liquor legislation, with an explicit “responsible service of alcohol” emphasis, provides police with considerable opportunity to improve the serving practices of licensed premises and to reduce alcohol-related harm. The perception by police of a lack of skill, a low prioritization for alcohol policing, limited time availability and inadequate penalties may prevent the realization of these benefits. Enhanced police training and the development of alternative responsible service of alcohol policing strategies are needed if these benefits are to be achieved.


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