People are lining up to attack former NT deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley today on her criticism of liquor inspectors.
The now Araluen independent MLA questioned the worth of the new police liquor inspectors in a debate in NT Parliament this week.
Her criticism has been roundly put down today by police command, the police union and the Police Minister Nicole Manison.
The NT Police Association wants a public apology from the Ms Lambley for what it called "hypocritical and out of touch" comments made in Parliament on Tuesday.
Ms Lambley questioned the need for so many new alcohol laws in the NT.
"We all accept that alcohol is the biggest problem facing the Northern Territory, it almost underlies every problem we have," she said.
Then she questioned the government's response.
"The Banned Drinker Register which was quickly reintroduced by this government has been the greatest waste of money and effort of all time," she said.
She also said: "I have always been a big fan of the PALIs, the police outside of bottle shops. I have not wavered for a minute, from my absolute commitment to them being there in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine. They have been the most effective measure we have seen, in Alice Springs at least, since I have been around, which is over 25 years."
Then she went on to say there are "major problems in how the liquor inspectors are are conducting themselves and how they work with bottle shops to stem alcoholism".
NTPA president Paul McCue said sustained attacks on police liquor inspectors from Ms Lambley were "disgusting and disrespectful".
"In the same breath, the Member for Araluen pledges her full support for PALIs, then alleges implied racism and accuses our members of abusing their powers. This is the same person who was stomping her feet demanding police be stationed at bottle shops, and now we see outrageous verbal attacks on those hardworking officers she so desperately wanted," Mr McCue said.
"These disgraceful comments must be retracted, and a public apology issued.
"Ms Lambley seems to be looking for any excuse to attack and publicly slander our hard-working members with unfounded accusations."
On Tuesday Ms Lambley tabled a photograph to Parliament, which she said was given to her by an unidentified licensee in Alice Springs, said to show a liquor inspector taking a lunch break during their working shift.
"What the Member for Araluen fails to do, is put the photograph into any type of context. Did she know how long the officer's shift was? Was the officer working alone? Was the officer so busy they couldn't leave that location and have a lunch break in privacy?" Mr McCue said.
"Instead of taking this photo to the Alice Springs Police Station, in the first instance, and seeking answers to these obvious questions herself, the Araluen Independent has used the public platform of Parliament to shame this officer and has the audacity to label their behaviour 'disrespectful'."
Acting Commissioner of Police Michael Murphy said he was proud of the work of liquor inspectors and how they contribute to the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm in our community.
"Since the introduction of PALI's in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, we have seen firsthand the positive impact, not only in the drop in alcohol-related assaults, but reductions in hospital admissions, protective custody apprehensions and improved community amenity in public areas.
"Financial year-on-year statistics show reductions in alcohol-related assaults down by 24% across the entirety of the NT and reductions of up to 40% in Alice Springs, 32% in Tennant Creek and 6% in Katherine.
Alcohol-related Hospital Admissions across the Territory are down compared with the previous financial year
For the month of July 2019 we saw a 38% reduction in protective custody episodes across the Northern Territory. These reductions are higher when we look Alice Springs and Tennant Creek region which saw a 55.8% reduction and Katherine region which saw a 56.6% reduction compared with July 2018.
"In the 2018/19 financial year there were 4451 less alcohol-related incidents in Alice Springs compared with the previous financial year, a 39.4% reduction. This trend continued in Tennant Creek and Katherine with 725 less alcohol-related incidents in Tennant Creek, a reduction of 18.5% and 768 less alcohol-related incidents in Katherine, a reduction of 14.4% compared with the previous financial year.
"Next Friday, Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector Squad 60 will graduate from their recruit training phase. These officers fulfil the commitment of 75 PALI's which will complement existing officers already deployed.
"The unfortunate recent commentary about PALI's in Alice Springs is disappointing. It does not reflect the tireless efforts of the men and women of the Northern Territory Police Force to address the harm that alcohol causes within our community.
"Our dedicated officers turn out each and every day to serve and protect the Northern Territory community and we will remain relentless in our efforts to build and maintain a safer Territory."
Police Minister Nicole Manison said she also condemned Ms Lambley's attacks on police liquor inspectors.
"The Member for Araluen has continually attacked PALIs since they were introduced by our Government to fight alcohol-fuelled crime and violence," she said.
"They should be praised, not attacked, because their efforts are working - alcohol-fuelled crime and violence in the Territory is at a 10-year low."
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