Crime Prevention and Community Safety

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 38–53 | Cite as

Key stakeholder views of venue lockouts in Newcastle and Geelong

  • Peter Miller
  • Darren Palmer
  • Emma McFarlane
  • Ashlee Curtis
Original Article


A substantial proportion of the problems associated with alcohol and interpersonal violence arise in or around licensed premises. One intervention, called lockouts, involves stopping people entering venues at an allocated time (for example, 1:30 am), although the venue can continue to sell alcohol until a specified closing time (for example, 3:30 am). The current study examines perceptions of the effectiveness of lockouts as a means of controlling violence in and around licensed premises. This article focuses on the views of key stakeholders drawn from industry, policing agencies and other key stakeholders using in-depth qualitative interviews (n=97) in two Australian regional cities. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. While a majority of interviewees believed lockouts were ineffective, thematic analysis highlighted six additional areas of consideration: the reasons for implementing lockouts; the impact on police resources; the benefits in changing patron behaviour; the limits to lockouts; the need for jurisdictional and/or market consistency; and the unintended consequences arising from the use of lockouts. Two additional findings raise important crime prevention and community safety policy considerations. First, lockouts favoured large venues that closed late rather than smaller, earlier closing venues. Second, concerns were raised about the potential for a lockout to cause an increase in alcohol-related harm by channelling patrons to larger, later closing venues and/or increasing the number of late-night trading venues by creating conditions that forced smaller venues to close or trade later in order to remain viable business. The article concludes by suggesting that crime prevention and community safety policy development needs to consider the potential harms that might arise from well intentioned but hasty desires to ‘do something now’.


alcohol licensed venues bars violence lockouts trading hours restrictions 



The National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, funded this research. Jennifer Tindall, Karen Gillham, Amy Sawyer and Professor John Wiggers assisted with identification and recruitment of potential interviewees in Newcastle. We would also like the thanks the two anonymous referees who made detailed and insightful comments that improved the final article.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Miller
    • 1
  • Darren Palmer
    • 2
  • Emma McFarlane
    • 2
  • Ashlee Curtis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Psychology, Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  2. 2.School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, GeelongAustralia

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