On the blog: Preventing alcohol and drug-fuelled violence in Canberra's entertainment precincts

Grant Bluett On the Blog

Sergeant Grant Bluett has been a police officer for 10 years. He was looking for a career where he felt like he was contributing to society and had an opportunity to work in a variety of areas, and so far it is exactly what he was looking for. Sergeant Bluett has a broad range of policing experience across various areas in ACT Policing including General Duties, Criminal Investigations, Community Policing Liaison Officer with Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Executive Officer to Chief Police Officer for the ACT.

He has been the Team Leader of ACT Policing’s Regional Targeting Team (RTT) since December 2016. The RTT is responsible for preventing alcohol and drug related violence through hi-visibility patrols of the entertainment precincts. The RTT also regularly engage with key stakeholders and at-risk groups, educating them on the targeted enforcement strategies in and around licenced venues.

The RTT is comprised of hard working and passionate police officers who are there to keep people safe who go out to licenced venues in Canberra. We are the ones you see at night patrolling in the bright yellow vests and our primary role is to prevent alcohol and drug-fuelled violence through law enforcement, community engagement and education.

Working with the RTT is interesting; there is no ordinary day…or night…and we deal with a broad range of people on any given shift. While the people who go out in Canberra are genuinely there to have fun (and the majority do), unfortunately there are people who make very poor decisions when they are affected by alcohol or drugs.

We acknowledge that not everyone who is affected by alcohol or drugs becomes aggressive, however someone who is affected is more likely to act violently and impulsively and it’s easy to forget that some of these acts of violence can have lasting physical and psychological consequences.

The emotional effects on victims and people who directly or indirectly witness violence can be pretty confronting. Even a small scuffle outside a venue can have a significant effect on someone’s perception of their safety in public.   

This is why we are at the forefront of the police effort to stop alcohol and drug-related anti-social behaviour and violence. We just want everyone to enjoy their night out, and get home safely.

The RTT also engages with licensed premises across Canberra to identify problem areas, people of interest and ensure a safe environment for staff and patrons.

As an observer, it’s pretty clear that the more you drink, the more likely you are to regret your actions the next day. Consumption of alcohol, especially at high levels, is not only a significant risk factor for violence but it also makes you vulnerable and consequently more likely to be a victim of crime.

Canberra is a safe city, but people shouldn’t be complacent and take unnecessary risks. Here are some personal safety tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable night out;

  • Plan your night out so that you aren’t making decisions while you’re impaired.
  • Tell someone your plans (who you are going out with, where you are going and when you expect to be home).
  • If you intend to drink alcohol, don’t drive, and be sure to arrange a lift home beforehand.
  • Have some money on you for your fare home, if your lift isn’t able to come get you anymore.
  • Think about you and your friend’s sensible alcohol consumption throughout the night.
  • Look after each other and don’t go overboard.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended.
  • Remember many incidents that end in violence could be avoided – get your mates and walk away.

More tips can be found on our website.


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