The NSW police have asked the Sydney council to establish 19 more alcohol-free zones to address the increasing number of non-residents getting involved in alcohol-related assaults.
Police commanders in Surry Hills and Redfern asked for 17 and two zones, respectively, to allow them to confiscate and dispose alcohol from street drinkers without warning. The commanders, including NSW Police commander of drug and alcohol coordination, Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke, claim that alcohol-free zones had made communities safer and lowered crime rates.
Supporting the proposal is the city's late night economy manager, Suzie Matthews.
However, the Redfern Legal Centre said it will oppose the creation of the zones and instead proposed the establishment of wet centres or covered area out of public view. Drinkers at the wet centre will be free from harassment and will have access to accommodation, food and other community services.
Police have a history of inappropriately targeting the vulnerable, homeless people and people with mental illness, and the result is these groups are pushed into less conspicuous places and away from support services including temporary food and shelter, reasoned Redfern Legal Centre chief executive Joanna Shulman, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.