Groove Saint stays on shame list

ALBURY nightclub Groove Saint remains one of NSW’s most violent venues, with 16 incidents recorded last year.

NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing figures show more violent incidents have occurred since the Dean Street club was first included on the list with 12 incidents recorded from July 2012 to June last year.

But publican Craig Shearer said he believed the number of occasions on average had actually decreased.

“The list is an annual rolling number (of incidents), which means it carries over into this year,” he said.

“We had a high number of incidents in the second half of last year, which got us put on the list ... so we knew it was likely going to be at least a 12-month stay on it.

“But we’re really hopeful to be off it next time.”

The office updates its list of violent venues every six months, based on incidents recorded over 12 months.

Groove Saint was listed in November as a Level 2 club (those with 12 to 18 recorded) and must take extra measures.

These include stopping alcohol service 30 minutes before closing; not using glass after midnight; and providing free water and food, or alcohol time-outs for every 10 minutes every hour after midnight.

Mr Shearer said since the club’s inclusion, it had gone a step further by banning shots altogether and hiring more security staff.

He was confident anti-social behaviour had reduced.

“Obviously we can’t control everything that goes on but we do our best,” he said.

“Some things are fairly arduous and expensive to do but there’s no point complaining about it — we just want to do what we can to get off the list.”

Albury Liquor Accord chairman Daryl Betteridge was also confident the club would improve numbers.

“Obviously we’re always concerned when assaults or anti-social behaviour occur at our venues, but this is an indication that Groove Saint has stayed static,” he said.

“It’s not a good thing (to have any number of incidents) but at least it has stabilised which means they can keep working on their venue-specific measures.”

Mr Betteridge didn’t believe Groove Saint’s listing was cause to rethink the accord, which has ruled out a blanket ban on shots.

Mr Shearer agreed: “The Albury accord is renowned across the state for dealing with issues head-on and it’s usually ahead of the game (for) responsible service of alcohol.”

The accord has voluntarily introduced some of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing’s most stringent measures, reserved for the most violent venues, such as no shots after midnight and 1.30am lockout.

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