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Victoria Stands Firm on Decriminalising Public Drunkenness ahead of Cup Day despite Police Concerns

Victoria Premier Jacinta Allan said the new health-based approach was common sense, but police are concerned it’s a safety risk.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan has defended decriminalising public drunkenness on Melbourne Cup day, despite concerns from the state’s police officers on Oct. 31.

From Nov. 7, being intoxicated in public will no longer be a crime, and police won’t have any powers to arrest people. Instead, it will be approached as a health issue, with leading community health organisation Co-health delivering street-based outreach teams and mobile vans across metro Melbourne, after long-planned decriminalisation reforms.

Ms. Allan said the approach was “common sense.”

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“Because being intoxicated in public shouldn’t be a crime. And from next week, it won’t be,” she said.

She added that criminalising public drunkenness “led to too many Indigenous Victorians ending up in a jail cell.”

“We are not going to continue where we have laws in this state that disproportionately see Indigenous Victorians end up in jail cells, and very seriously significant consequences come as a result of that,” she said.

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In response, Victoria Police issued a statement assuring police want to “instinctively assist” the community; however, under new laws, there will be times when members will leave drunk people where they are, particularly when they are not deemed a safety risk.


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