By Kristy McMahon

The Valley Liquor Accord (VLA) has launched their new Twitter and Facebook pages as it enters the final phase of the Drink Safe Precinct (DSP) trial.

The aim of the trial is to improve the safety of patrons in nightclubs, hotels and restaurants and reduce the number of alcohol-fuelled incidents.

Valley Liquor Accord Nick Braban - photo by Kristy McMahon

The new social media campaign forms part of a VLA and Valley Chamber of Commerce (VCC) action and management plan in a bid to retain the DSP scheme beyond its November 2012 trial completion.

The DSP began in December 2010 and is currently being trialed in Fortitude Valley, Surfers Paradise and Townsville.

During the past 16 months, a number of strategies have been implemented including higher visibility policing, the creation of a chill out zone in the Valley Mall, upgrading and installing additional street and security lighting and extra marshals and security guards at taxi ranks.

VLA chair Nick Braban says over the past 12 months they have seen a decline in reportable incidences across the Valley.

He says there have been approximately 2,000 arrests and notices to appear in court, but it is hard to compare to previous years as the statistics were never compiled.

Mr Braban says the next step is to review the State Government’s 3am lock out initiative.

“Since the 3am lock out came in, there have been more people on the streets late at night unable to go anywhere, sometimes it’s difficult to get transport options,” he said.

Mr Braban says more needs to be done to understand whether or not the 3am lock out does reduce anti-social behaviour, or if it actually contributes to the problem.

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie says once the DSP trial expires at the end of the year, the Government will discuss whether or not the 3am lock out should continue as well.

“It is premature though to say that Drink Safe Precinct will continue into 2013 until such time as we sit down with industry, they show us that it’s worked, they show us that the alcohol-related violence incidences have reduced,” he said.

“It’s all looking positive at the moment, so we’ll have those discussions towards the end of the trial to ensure that we’re all working the best we can.”

Mr Braban hopes the Government will continue funding the DSP after the trial date expires.

“I guess the main things that we really want to see continued is the funding for people like Chaplain Watch and Chill-Out Zone, and the continued extra police manpower in the precinct of a Friday and Saturday night,” Mr Braban said.