CBD woes at minimum

By DARRYN NUFER ? VIOLENCE in Rockhampton's CBD had been "reduced to a minimum'' since the introduction of a 3am nightclub lockout and bolstered police patrols, a veteran cab driver said yesterday.

It was one of the best indications yet that new strategies to reduce alcohol-related violence are working.

Rocky Cabs director Dennis Assay said late-night revellers had generally been "much better'' behaved and the police had played a big role.

"We can't praise them (police) enough,'' he said.

"They've been making a concerted effort and it's certainly paying off because violence has been reduced down to a minimum in the mall area.

"They've certainly made our job a lot more enjoyable.''

An increased police presence in the CBD is part of Operation Hazel, a crackdown on drunken behaviour and assaults.

Mr Assay said even his customers had noticed a difference. "They're certainly a lot more satisfied that the police are out there.''

Mr Assay said the 3am lockout was working particularly well with a "steady flow'' of people using taxi ranks between 2.30am and 5am.

"We're not getting the one big rush of people at 5am or big line-ups at the ranks.

"There have been very, very few problems.''

Mr Assay said Rocky Cabs had been in talks with police and Liquor Licensing about funding for marshals at taxi ranks and submissions were being prepared to go to government level.



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