ID scanning 'quiet success'

THE first weekend of a new anti-violence plan spanning five Newcastle pubs has been a quiet success, hoteliers say.

The weekend marked the first fully fledged launch of a scanning system across the King Street Hotel, Queens Wharf Brewery, Fannys, MJ Finnegans and Cambridge Hotel.

The Newcastle Herald revealed last week the scanner would link each venue, effectively enabling them to bar patrons who had been turned away or ejected at one of the other venues.

Queens Wharf Brewery owner Michael Hogg said the system stopped ‘‘four or five’’ patrons entering his premises at the weekend after they had previously been banned elsewhere.

‘‘It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it,’’ Mr Hogg said.

It had also caught an attempt to use two IDs in the same person’s name, Mr Hogg said, and made it clear to the minority that anti-social behaviour had consequences.

‘‘We don’t want it as operators, the city doesn’t want it and other patrons don’t want it,’’ Mr Hogg said. ‘‘I don’t think in isolation [the new system] is going to be the answer ... but it’s a major step in the right direction.’’

Australian Hotels Association NSW Newcastle-Hunter president Rolly de With said the five venues deserved congratulations for banding together to bring in the measure.

‘‘It’s probably the first time it’s been done in the state, that we’ve seen this type of co-operation,’’ Mr de With said.

‘‘This brings back in personal accountability, which we see as the answer to how we bring about cultural change.’’

Police Association of NSW Northern Region executive member Dean Koenig said the steps were a move in the right direction, but there was more to do.

He said hoteliers should also consider measures outlined by the Last Drinks campaign including earlier closing times and lockouts.

‘‘We see it as a positive step and hopefully it can work hand in hand with the measures of the Last Drinks campaign,’’ Mr Koenig said.

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