Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Calling All Cars! Bad Rendition of 'New York, New York' in Progress!

Via Tim Blair comes this preposterous use of police resources:
A SQUAD of specialist police swooped on over 20 karaoke dens in Sydney's CBD last night, issuing 85 enforcement notices for offences including breaches of the Liquor Act.
I'm really, really hoping that there's something more sensible behind this - maybe it's part of the Asian Crime Squad, and they're targeting gang activities at these venues. Because the alternative is too ridiculous to contemplate - are they really that worried about miscellanous breaches of trivial health and safety violations at Karaoke bars? Can they think of no other better uses of their time?

It appears not. Check out these solid gold justifications from the police:
“It’s clear some premises are still conducting activities which encourage patron intoxication and that’s of great concern to police,” Superintendent Walton said.
You don't say! We calls those types of premises "bars". The activity they do which encourages patron intoxication is called "serving alcohol". Apparently he said this with a straight face. The gold continues:
“The fact is that intoxication greatly increases a person’s chances of becoming a victim of crime or an offender."
said the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Honestly, this goes to show... what? That we should hassle bars out of existence with trivial violations of trivial laws?
“The link between alcohol and crime is very real and all licensed venues have to play their part in taking responsibility and that includes karaoke bars.”
!= a sensible reason to raid 20 karaoke bars.

Check out the crucial law violations that were uncovered:
During the raids, police found: nine breaches of the Liquor Act; 15 breaches of development consents; three breaches of the Security Act; 45 breaches of food standards; and 13 breaches essential fire safety measures.
Police said the bar they temporarily shut down last night had its fire exits locked, while the arrested man, 24, was taken into custody after allegedly stabbing another 24-year-old man in the arm as he left a bar on Dixon Street.
So, we had one serious crime occurring (which doesn't appear on face to be anything to do with the karaoke bar), and 84 citations for nonsense. It beggars belief that the police were jointly worried about the crucial issues of food safety, fire doors, club security and liquor service, and that the karaoke bars were the only places in violation of this. This is the list of what happens when the police turn up determined to cite you for absolutely everything they can find.

All I can say is that there had better be a much better reason here that we're not being told, because otherwise this is arbitrary and capricious police action of the worst sort.

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