Katherine’s first contingent of new police liquor inspectors have arrived and are already making arrests.
Ten of the final complement of 22 inspectors began duties in Katherine last week.
The first 10 graduated from their 13-week training program late last year.
The liquor inspectors have been recruited to free up police from bottle shop duties.
Police said Katherine’s first Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors are already hard at work.
The PALIs, supported by members from the Alcohol Policing Unit, conducted an operation in Katherine and the surrounding area from January 3-7.
Operation Convent was aimed at identifying and preventing the secondary supply of alcohol in the region, as well as inspections at licensed premises in Katherine and Mataranka.
“We’re incredibly pleased with the work of our newest officers,” Detective Sergeant Jakson Evans said.
“The work undertaken by the PALIs as part of Operation Convent appears to have had a significant impact on antisocial behaviour and public drunkenness in the town.”
During the five day targeted operation two people were arrested, one person was taken into protective custody and four people were cautioned.
Police also made three Banned Drinker Register referrals and five Banned Drinker Register extensions, asked 17 people to move on from their location.
“It is a serious offence to sell liquor without a licence and attracts a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment and a substantial fine,” Detective Sergeant Evans said.
“Police will continue to use all available resources and strategies to target these offences and will seek maximum penalties for those prosecuted.”
Offenders involved in secondary supply face the seizure of all items involved in such offences, including vehicles.
Police also searched a vehicle and destroyed liquor as part of Op. Convent.
“To help our officers keep protecting the Katherine community, we encourage everyone to report all suspected instances of illicit alcohol sales by calling 131 444,” Detective Sergeant Evans said.
The NT Government said it was tackling alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour through the most significant alcohol reforms in NT history.
A total of 21 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors graduated from training late last year.
They are the second group of PALI’s to graduate.
Their training has included legislation, police powers and judicial process – as well as domestic and family violence awareness, child welfare awareness and policing between cultures.
Ten of the inspectors are coming to Katherine with two for Tennant Creek and nine to Alice Springs.
Once recruitment is complete, there will be 75 PALI’s with 41 in Alice, 22 in Katherine and 12 in Tennant Creek.
They will form part of the 97-member strong unit within the NT Police aimed at reducing the alcohol-fuelled crime and violence.
The third squad of inspectors will start training at the start of February 2019.
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Nicole Manison said: “For decades alcohol-fuelled crime and violence has had a devastating impact on our communities, homes and businesses.
“When you limit access to alcohol by those who abuse it, you not only cut down crime, but you also improve the health of Territorians.
“The Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors are just one of a suite of comprehensive and historic changes this government is implementing - including bringing back the BDR that the CLP scrapped - to address the issues of alcohol-fuelled crime and violence.
“Upon complete recruitment, the Liquor Inspectors will be capable of delivering lockdown of bottle shops in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine freeing up police to return to the frontline.”
Katherine Town Council has successfully lobbied the NT Government and senior police to return police to bottle shop duties.
A rise in anti-social behaviour and public drunkeness led to the calls for the police focus to return to the sale of liquor at retail outlets.
NT Police Association leaders also visited Katherine late last week “to update members on recent events”.
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