Local police are warning more people will be banned from Bendigo CBD in a bid to combat spiraling late-night violence.
The first such exclusion order was handed down to 32-year-old Axedale man Scott Kneebone in Bendigo Magistrates Court last week. Kneebone was banned from the Bendigo CBD between 10pm and 4am from Thursday to Saturday for 12 months, after being convicted of an unprovoked, violent assault.
The exclusion zone is bordered by Barnard, View, Myers and Chapel streets, and offenders face a $845 fine for contravening an exclusion order. Sergeant Greg Gentry of Bendigo’s Tasking Unit said exclusion orders would be a tool police used “very regularly”.
“We don’t want repeat offenders, we don’t want any offenders, but if someone has the potential to be a recidivist offender at licensed premises we want them to be excluded,” he said.
“We will be applying for these orders at every chance.” Sergeant Gentry said because exclusion orders were a relatively new piece of legislation and it was taking a while for applicable cases to reach court.
“The tasking unit have currently got five briefs before court that have exclusion orders attached to them,” he said.
“They are offenders who have committed assaults around licenced premises, or possessed drugs – usually something that relates to unsavoury behaviour.”
Sergeant Gentry said police could also hand out temporary banning notices to people arrested for being drunk and disorderly, banning them from the CBD for 72 hours.
Police members have handed out 14 of these notices in the Bendigo CBD in the last three months.
People can also be banned from licensed venues under the Bendigo Liquor Accord.
Bendigo Liquor Accord representative Andrew Lethlean said there were three people currently banned under the accord, with seven more in the process of being added to the list.
“Anyone involved in assaults, criminal damage and general antisocial behaviour, depending on the severity of offending, can be banned for up to three years from venues in the Bendigo Liquor Accord,” he said.
Underagers also face lengthy bans, Mr Lethlean said.
The manager of Puggs and Star Bar said 40 to 50 underagers tried to enter CBD licensed venues with fake or borrowed IDs every Saturday night.
Last weekend police caught four underagers trying to enter a licensed premises in Bull Street, another was caught in View Street.
“Under the liquor accord now if someone is caught with a fake ID or someone else’s ID they can be barred for six months once they turn 18,” Me Letlean said.
Sergeant Gentry said the hard line approach taken by police and licensees would help people get the message that violence would not be tolerated in Bendigo’s CBD.
“The days are gone where they think it’s alright to get drunk and throw a few punches around,” he said.
“Not only will they be charged but they will be banned.”