Our glassing-free zone

A NIGHT on the town is safer here than almost anywhere else, thanks to the Sunshine Coast laying claim to being Queensland’s only “glassing-free” region.

Police figures show the region is yet to report a violent physical attack involving a glass or the perspex variety more than eight months into the new year.

The Sunshine Coast sits alone on the state’s “glassing-free” tally.

The closest are Toowoomba, Hervey Bay and Rockhampton, which have all recorded two incidents.

It is significantly better than the same period last year, when four glassings had been reported by August, 2010, on the Sunshine Coast.

Police and liquor education experts hope the long-fought-for success will bring back the residents and visitors who now avoid nightspots at Mooloolaba, Caloundra and Noosa because of escalating violence.

Sunshine Coast police acting Superintendent Mark Henderson said police weekend walk-throughs, which had a proven calming affect on patrons, were now standard for uniform patrols.

“More than 80 ‘walk-throughs’ were conducted last weekend alone,” Supt Henderson said.

“It is especially pleasing to say that this has truly been a whole of community success, which has included several branches of the liquor accord group CALM and related licensees, coupled with pro-active enforcement by the relevant agencies and a growing level of community intolerance of anti-social alcohol-related violence.”

Traditional “glasses” have largely been replaced on the Sunshine Coast by the perspex variety as part of a glass ban.

But police said any attack involving the perspex variety would also technically be classed as a “glassing”.

Earlier this year the Sunshine Coast CALM program was named as the country’s best alcohol management program in the 2011 Local Government Awards.

It came on the back of a two-year low in alcohol-fuelled violence at Mooloolaba (70% reduction), Maroochydore (33%) and Noosa (13%).

Community Programs acting manager Cindi Coinex said it came down to more than strict adherence to “code of conduct” by licensees.

“It’s the ongoing community education and awareness initiatives which increasingly tell the public we’re not going to tolerate any behaviour outside these guidelines.”

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