Alcohol-related assaults up despite Banned Drinker Register
THE Territory Government is continuing to defend the controversial Banned Drinker Register, despite another month of crime statistics showing an increase in alcohol-related assaults.
The latest NT Police figures show there were 1046 alcohol-related assaults in September, October and November last year - compared to 844 in the same months in 2016.
This is despite 2234 people being placed on the BDR in the same three months, since its introduction on September 1 last year.
Alcohol-related assaults increased immediately following the introduction of the BDR and September was one of the worst months in recent history for them.
However, a spokeswoman for Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the crime statistics were not how the Government was assessing the BDR.
"Any instance of alcohol related crime and violence is concerning and unacceptable, however there are many contributing factors to crime and these figures are not an appropriate measure of whether the BDR is working effectively," the spokeswoman said.
"The BDR was introduced as a supply measure to stop problem drinkers accessing take away alcohol. This is just one of a suite of measures that the Territory Labor Government is taking to address the serious and entrenched issue of alcohol-fuelled crime and violence in the Territory."
The latest December BDR statistics show there are now 2565 banned drinkers in the Northern Territory. In December, there were 635 attempts to purchase alcohol by banned drinkers - up 36 per cent from the previous month.
The lack of impact from the BDR has been criticised by NT Opposition Leader Gary Higgins, who said it was not too early to measure the success of the policy.
"The Labor government's much hyped BDR is failing to keep Territorians safe and questions must be asked as to why just seven assessments were completed in December for alcohol and other drug treatment services," he said.
"The government needs to advise the details of the evaluation process of the BDR, including the statistics that will be used to measure its success. This evaluation must be conducted by an independent third party."
The first official Government evaluation of the BDR is expected in June.