Kings Cross 'blitz' to include ID scanners & drug dogs

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Sydney club district Kings Cross has been at the centre of government scrutiny in recent months, following the death of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly from an unprovoked attack in July. (You can read our in-depth look at the topic, The Blame Game, including the opinions of club owners and promoters in the Cross.) Today NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced a plan designed to “sound alarm bells for thugs and hooligans”. According to a media release from the Premier’s office this morning, more transport, ID scanners and “a police blitz” are all part of the plan entitled ‘Cleaning Up The Cross’. “This plan is a tough and comprehensive response and I make no apologies for that,” the Premier writes in the release. “Kings Cross should be a place where Sydneysiders and visitors can go for a good night out in safety. The tragic death of Thomas Kelly brought the deteriorating situation in Kings Cross into sharp focus and today I am calling time on the alarming scenes we have seen in the Cross.”

According to the plan, police will stage the ‘high-visibility’ Operation Rushmore in the Cross over summer, starting on Friday 28 September, the start of the long weekend. Under the plan, ID scanners will be implemented in venues throughout the Cross so that when a person is ejected from one venue, they can be barred from all others. Sniffer dogs are also a key part of the Premier’s plan. “Drug detection dogs will be able to be used in the Cross without police first obtaining a warrant,” the media release reads. “This extra new police power will also be extended to all metropolitan and inter-city train lines.” The new measures also include improvements to late-night bus services, a continued freeze on new liquor licenses until 24 December, 2015 and a ‘sobering-up centre’. Read the full measures from the Premier’s office below.

SUMMARY OF NEW MEASURES [QUOTED DIRECTLY FROM THE NSW PREMIER]

#1 Operation Rushmore – the NSW Police Force, supported by a number of NSW Government agencies and the City, will target alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour and violent behaviour in public spaces in the lead-up to and over summer in Kings Cross. The first blitz of this new operation will be on Friday 28 September, the start of the October long weekend.

#2 Drug dogs will be able to patrol Kings Cross streets without police first getting a warrant. For the first time, they will also be able to be used on all metropolitan and inter-city train lines without a warrant.

#3 The introduction of ID scanners across the Kings Cross Precinct Liquor Accord so when a person is ejected from one venue, they can be barred from all.

#4 A sobering-up centre will be established to service the precinct.

#5 Extra taxi marshals will start work on Friday 28 September (start of the October long weekend); and a pre-paid taxi trial will start by the end of October.

#6 Traffic changes which make it easier for taxis and buses to get in and out of Kings Cross, and easier for passengers to access these services, will be finalised in conjunction with Sydney City Council.

#7 Extra night time bus services to the city to allow travellers to link up with existing Night Ride services. There will be an additional six services an hour to Central Station, meaning a bus less than every eight minutes on average. This includes four new direct services to Central with no stops in between. Buses will operate from Kings Cross to Town Hall four times an hour.

#8 The freeze on new liquor outlets in Kings Cross will be extended for another three years, until 24 December, 2015. The legislation will be introduced by the end of the year.

#9 The area covered by the Kings Cross Liquor Accord will be extended to take in approximately 100 extra licensed premises in the Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay areas. The legislation will be introduced by the end of the year.

#10 We will introduce legislation to define a small bar as a bar catering for 60 or fewer patrons to ensure all bars are subject to the same enforcement measures.

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mikeblades

mikeblades said on the 18th Sep, 2012

it sounds like they listened to all sides of the story...i DONT see them shutting venues early or banning shots all night, which IS a good thing. all they need to do now is arrest the violent offenders and give them mandatory sentences and shit will finally start to be good again

MongooseFiend

MongooseFiend said on the 18th Sep, 2012

Yup, better stop all those munted young ppl from causing all that ruckus. Their consistent need to hug people and share feelings with strangers is a blight on this city.

josh_goods

josh_goods said on the 18th Sep, 2012

as predicted... they jumped on some unfortunate guy's death to put through a whole lot of new police powers they've been conspiring over for god knows how long.
half the problem is how much of a hole the place is. what is he doing about that?

Mikey08

Mikey08 said on the 18th Sep, 2012

Is this on top of licensing restrictions, or instead of licensing restrictions?

i_have_ADD

i_have_ADD said on the 18th Sep, 2012

ugh, new worst ever job in the history of everything has to be 'kings cross taxi marshall'. no thanks

james223

james223 said on the 18th Sep, 2012

Fuck this country is depressing sometimes.

muli_

muli_ said on the 18th Sep, 2012

at least there is a positive to getting older and not going out that much...

kane2188

kane2188 said on the 18th Sep, 2012

need to do something about the taxi drivers not picking people up and the bouncers who arent letting people into the venues forcing people out onto the street.. worst thing is if you have an incident with a bouncer who is being unreasonable he can ban you from other places as well.. im all for not letting drunken idiots into clubs and taxis picking them up but it happens quite a bit regardless

josh_goods

josh_goods said on the 18th Sep, 2012

great point about bouncers... suddenly people with no qualifications, little-to-no education and [often enough] an agenda to get one on those going out, have just as much power and influence on your night as anyone else.
get f**ked

dirtyepic

dirtyepic said on the 18th Sep, 2012

The establishment of a sobering-up centre seems a surprisingly thoughtful and considered policy - the general focus on the provision of services to funnel drunk punters away from Kings Cross post-bender is actually quite commendable. (Never thought I'd ever say that about a Liberal government's criminal justice policy…!)

Where the hell did #2 come from, though? Given that approximately 54% of the non-domestic assaults that take place in Kings Cross and surrounding areas are alcohol-related, I don't quite see the purpose in funnelling so many police resources into such an operation - unless, of course, it's merely just for the "tough on crime" cred that comes with it.

Brrbear

Brrbear said on the 19th Sep, 2012

Let's give the power hungry security of Kings Cross more power. Good idea Bazza.

SANDSHREW

SANDSHREW said on the 19th Sep, 2012

SOMEBODY CALL THE A-TEAM CAUSE THE POLICE AIN'T DOIN%u2019 SHIT

katiecunningham

katiecunningham said on the 19th Sep, 2012

This whole thing makes me euuuugggghhhh

foxyminx

foxyminx said on the 22nd Sep, 2012

Ha! kudos muli_
Kids get your shit together.