By Briony Skinner, Alicia Ng
Questions are being raised about the effectiveness of a weekend clampdown on alcohol misuse which saw 574 Queenslanders arrested.
More than 1000 officers flooded entertainment hotspots, conducted random breath tests and toughened up on venue licensing in Queensland as part of the Operation Unite initiative which targetted alcohol misuse and antisocial behaviour.
Although police say the crackdown was a success, they are doubtful it has changed attitudes towards binge drinking.
These statistics, which include 140 charges for drink driving offences, show messages about the consequences of binge drinking have not sunk in, according to police.
Co-ordinator of the drink safe precinct in Fortitude Valley and commander for the Brisbane Central District over the weekend Police Inspector Bill Graham agreed.
He said the operation was considered a success as no serious injuries were reported.
But he said attitudes have not changed because binge drinking is a cultural issue.
“People still don’t get the idea that it is fine to go and have a good time, but you need to make the right choices when you’re out there,” he said.
“[Otherwise] you’re going to spoil it for yourself and others if you carry on through alcohol.”
Others are also skeptical of the impact Operation Unite will have on curbing binge drinking and alcohol-fulled dangers.
University student Cameron McRae recently undertook a three month hiatus from alcohol as part of the “Hello Sunday Morning” project.
Mr McRae said initiatives such as Operation Unite are not targeting the real issues.
“Police crack down is great but, if we don’t change the attitudes towards binge drinking I don’t think that’s going to solve anything in the long term,” he said.
Shafston Hotel worker Zoe Knobel is doubtful infrequent crack downs will have any effect on people’s behaviour.
She said four police officers inspected the venue at around 9pm Saturday night, a notable increase from the usual one.
Although she said she does not believe one offs will change anything.
“Unless they are going to do that at random and more often I don’t think it will have any effect,” she said.