Mandurah: Players Bar and Toucan Club hit with liquor licensing restrictions

Players Bar. Picture: Jon Hewson.
Players Bar. Picture: Jon Hewson.

CONDITIONS have been imposed on Players Bar and Toucan Club after the director of Liquor Licensing found there had been a “systematic failure on the part of the licensee to properly manage the premises.”

A report from the director stated it was in the public interest to impose conditions on the licences of the venues to minimise the negative impact on the surrounding locality and to protect patrons.

The conditions include restrictions on the sale of alcohol, identification systems and dress standards.

“The high levels of patron intoxication and anti-social behaviour attributable to these premises is unacceptable,” the report said.

The director received reports from Detective Superintendant James Migro, from the Licensing Enforcement Division of the WA Police, relating to the conduct of the business under each licence.

According to the reports, police had actively engaged with the licensees and management of the premises in an effort to seek self-regulation and remedy issues arising from the manner of trade.

“However such engagement had so far resulted in minimal change in the way in which the premises operate,” the director’s report said.

Toucan Club. Picture: Jon Hewson.

“As a consequence of the police reports, I formed the tentative view that the licensed premises were not being managed in a manner consistent with the public interest and it would be appropriate to impose certain restrictive conditions on the licences in order to remedy the problems identified by the police.”

The director acknowledged the licensee had made numerous positive changes to aspects of the business operations, such as management and crowd control company changes.

But, the director said it was “of concern” that it required the intervention of the police and the licensing authority before deficient management practices changed in order to reduce patron intoxication, assaults and anti-social behaviour.

The director said it was now up to the licensee to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to its obligations under the Act.

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“Unless there is a significant and sustained improvement in the management of these venues, the licensee runs the risk of further conditions being imposed or disciplinary action being taken before the Liquor Commission, which could result in the suspension or cancellation of the licences,” the report said.

A spokeswoman for the nightclubs said they did not allow Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (OMCG) members into the venue and worked tirelessly with security to ensure their admittance is refused.

“Our policy is to scan every person, but when you have aggressive and intimidating bikie members threatening staff and management, then barging their way in, using normal protocols is not always possible and we need to rely on authoritative bodies to assist,” she said.

The spokeswoman said other venues offering $4 basic spirits until 1am were a huge contributor to people being drunk and attempting to enter their venues.

“When they are refused entry they can become aggressive,” she said.

“We will not always get it right, but we work tirelessly to minimise drunkenness, refuse entry and focus promotions on entertainment, rather than alcohol consumption.

“Drugs play a huge part in peoples’ intoxication and we need stronger awareness, legislation and venue authority to manage this problem.”

The spokeswoman said assaults were a common problem.

“But no amount of strict conditions will prevent assaults,” she said.

“New security, new management and stronger house policies have minimised the assaults.

“Antisocial attitudes, drugs and general disrespect play a huge part in incidents and our management works tirelessly to minimise them, although we are not responsible alone.

“Often incidents occurring in the nearby vicinity are registered to the venues, particularly if the call comes from us.”

Players Bar and Toucan Club management plan to seek a review of the decision and are putting together a submission to be lodged in the next few days.

“We are committed to operating professional, safe and vibrant venues,” the spokeswoman said.

Issues raised by police

* OMCG members entering the premises without being scanned

* Assaults in the premises

* Disorderly and anti-social behaviour in and around the premises

* Patron intoxication

* Breach of the Act and licence conditions

* An approved manager of the premises being prosecuted for failing to provide CCTV footage to police to assist with an investigation of an assault at the venue

* Patrons throwing items from the balcony onto people below.

Police statistics

* From January 1, 2015 to August 23 2016 there were 40 calls for police assistance at the Toucan Club and 79 calls for police assistance at the Players Bar

* From January 1, 2015 to August 20, 2016 there were 65 crime incidents recorded as occurring at the Toucan Club and 53 at the Players Bar, relating to serious assaults, damage, theft, hindering police and drug possession.

Conditions imposed

* An identification system shall be installed and operated from the commencement of trade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights

* An additional approved manager is to be present and on the premises from the start of trade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights with a primary role of RSA management

* From 1am until close of business, the licensee is prohibited from selling and supplying liquor for consumption on the premises presented in such a way that would encourage the rapid consumption of liquor

* From 1am no liquor is to be supplied mixed with energy drinks

* A video surveillance system must be in place and operational and must comply with relevant policies of the Director of Liquor Licensing.

* Dress standards – Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs insignia to be visible

* Patrons are prohibited from entering or re-entering the premises after 3am

* The balcony area of the premises is not to be used after 3am