Kings Cross streets no safer after licensed venues crackdown

A state government crackdown on licensed venues in Kings Cross following the death of teenager Thomas Kelly has failed to improve assault rates in the street in the area, but has driven down incidents within pubs and clubs.

Figures compiled by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveal non-domestic assaults in licensed premises within the Kings Cross police local area command have fallen by an annual average of 19.6 per cent over the past two years and have remained stable over five years.

For licensed premises within the 2011 postcode area, which takes in Kings Cross, the trend across two years is an average annual reduction of 20.2 per cent and for five years an average annual decrease of 5.5 per cent.

However, the data also shows assault rates outside licensed premises in the Kings Cross postcode area and within the police local area command have remained stable.

"There hasn't been a change outside licensed premises in either the number of assaults over the last two years or the number of assaults in the last five years," the bureau's director Don Weatherburn said on Wednesday.

The figures suggest the crackdown by the government on Kings Cross pubs and clubs in December 2012 has had an impact on assaults inside venues but not in the streets.

The government imposed a plan of management on licensed venues in Kings Cross following the fatal assault on 18-year-old Thomas Kelly on Victoria Street, Kings Cross, in July 2012.

Venues were banned from selling shots or premixed drinks after midnight on weekends or using glassware after midnight on any day of the week.

They have also been required to hire responsible service of alcohol marshals and improve their CCTV coverage.

Last year, the government trumpeted statistics that showed alcohol-related assaults had fallen by about one-third inside Kings Cross licensed premises between December 2012 and March 2013 compared with the same period the previous year.

But these figures related to the Kings Cross liquor accord "precinct" where the plan of management was imposed.

Dr Weatherburn said on Wednesday he did not have precinct figures as they required different research by the bureau, which would be done in due course.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hospitality Minister George Souris released figures suggesting a 25.5 per cent reduction in alcohol-related assaults on licensed premises in the Kings Cross precinct between December 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Mr Souris said 82 incidents were reported on licensed premises in the Kings Cross precinct in the period, compared with 110 in the same period in the previous year.

Mr Souris pointed out that Dr Weatherburn said the government's measures had not pushed the problem onto the street because those figures remain stable.

He declined to comment on the lack of improvement in assault rates outside licensed premises in Kings Cross.

Police Minister Mike Gallacher has been approached for comment.

The state government has rejected calls by alcohol campaigners to trial 1am lockouts and 3am closing times for Kings Cross and other hotspots for alcohol-related violence.

It is considering a raft of recommendations from a five-year statutory review of the Liquor Act, including that a system of risk-based licensing fees be introduced.

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