ALCOHOL-related crimes including assaults and drink-driving in Kempsey on Friday and Saturday nights have been greatly reduced.
The good news comes following the combined efforts of the Macleay Valley Liquor Accord, Kempsey Police, the Roads and Maritime Services Department and the Kempsey Shire Council.
From September 2012 to May 2013, crimes on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm to 2am where alcohol is determined to be a factor have been reduced by 38 per cent compared to the same period in 2011-12.
These crimes include assault and malicious damage.
Drink-driving during this time has been reduced by 54 per cent.
Other incidents where police are called to deal with an intoxicated person but do not necessarily make an arrest are also down by more than 30 per cent.
Several factors are credited with this reduction, including a taxi voucher scheme introduced in September 2012, and increased police patrols around licensed premises at closing time.
The taxi vouchers are available to all hotel patrons entitling each customer a discount of $10 on their taxi fare for the trip home.
The taxi vouchers are available every Friday and Saturday night from 8pm and are available from all licensed venues in Kempsey.
The vouchers are also available for special events within the Kempsey Shire.
They are funded by a grant from the NSW Attorney-General’s Department secured by the Kempsey council.
All licensed venues in Kempsey have their vouchers renewed weekly.
Mid North Coast Local Area Command Duty Officer Inspector Kim Fehon said the taxi voucher scheme was one of several reasons for the reduction in alcohol related incidents.
“The taxi scheme undoubtedly helps by getting people who may be affected by alcohol off the street so they are not getting into fights and doing stupid things on the walk home,” Inspector Fehon said.
“The Kempsey police are also focussing their efforts with increased patrols, making sure patrons are not congregating outside hotels after closing time and making sure they move on.”
For more information on the Taxi Voucher Scheme contact Linda Young, Community Safety Project Officer at Kempsey Shire Council on 6566 3200.