Alcohol related offences have always accounted for a large percentage of police calls for service.
However, there has been increasing community concern and media focus on alcohol related violence in recent times.
In the last two years there have been a number of examples of alcohol fuelled violence around Australia where the lives of young people have been cut short due to a single punch.
The consequences of these incidents stretch beyond the impact on the victim’s families.
The lives of the individuals who threw the punches will also be forever changed as they face the possibility of long periods in jail.
As terrible as these highly publicised incidents are, they represent just the tip of the problem.
Every weekend hundreds of young people are treated in our hospitals as a result alcohol fuelled violence and traffic crashes.
It has been estimated that alcohol misuse has a total cost to the Australian community of 15.3 billion dollars each year when factors such as crime and violence, treatment costs, loss of productivity and premature death were taken into account ('Inquiry into Alcohol Related Violence', Legislative Assembly of Queensland, March 2010).
Although the majority of people take care to drink responsibly, there has been a noticeable shift in the drinking culture, particularly of young people. The trend has shifted from having a drink as an element of socialisation, to drinking alcohol solely to become intoxicated.
Changing this cultural shift will be a difficult task requiring a whole of community response.
The 'Be Safe' project aims to promote the need for individuals to take personal responsibility for their decisions when drinking.
Drinkers need to accept that their consumption of alcohol will significantly increase the likelihood of them being involved in a violent incident.
The risk can however, be dramatically reduced by making appropriate decisions and plans before their decision making ability is impaired by alcohol.
The 'Be Safe' program is not a stand alone initiative of the Queensland Police Service.
Police will be working with a wide range of community stakeholders to promote the ‘Be Safe’ message.
Our community partners include schools, licensed premises, councils, businesses and a range of community agencies that deliver services to those people whose lives have been impacted by alcohol.
The 'Be Safe' project also supports an extensive range of proactive and enforcement strategies already in place in Gladstone and Rockhampton.
Although there are no easy solutions to addressing alcohol related violence, the Queensland Police Service is committed to working with the community to stop crime and make our local communities safer.
© State of Queensland (Queensland Police Service) 2017