Prohibiting public drinking in an urban area: Determining the impacts on police, the community and marginalised groups


This project evaluated public drinking laws across three diverse inner-urban local government areas of Melbourne: the cities of Yarra, Darebin and Maribyrnong. The project evaluated the implementation of public drinking laws, the effectiveness of these laws and the impact of these laws on a range of target groups including police, residents, traders, local health and welfare workers, and potentially marginalised groups. The findings were equivocal as to whether such laws reduced congregations of drinkers and there was no evidence that these laws reduced alcohol-related crime or harm. It was found that public drinking laws make residents feel safer and improve the amenity of an area from the perspective of residents and traders, but often result in negative impacts to marginalised individuals. It is important that public drinking laws are carefully considered, implemented and enforced (with collaboration of local council officers and police) and are coupled with community-specific social inclusion strategies. (Abstract, edited)