Governments across Australia and internationally have responded to concerns about alcohol-fuelled disorderly behaviours by implementing a variety of legislative reforms, regulations, and operational procedures to address violence and risky drinking practices (Fleming 2008; Miller et al. 2012, 2013, 2016a, b; Taylor et al. 2018). Patron banning is one provision that has steadily expanded, particularly across Australian jurisdictions (Farmer et al. 2018; Farmer and Clifford 2020). Banning provisions range from the discretionary facility for licensees to exclude individuals from their venues, to on-the-spot police-imposed venue or public area bans, and court-imposed exclusion orders. Venue specific bans apply to licensed premises and can be imposed by licensees or other authorised persons for a range of generally low-level anti-social behaviours, sometimes for extensive periods, but with limited options for review. Police and court-imposed bans are typically a response to alcohol-related violence or disorder. They can also be imposed in anticipation of (and to prevent) a perceived intended disorderly act. These bans generally apply to specific locations and/or pre-defined geographical areas within town centres or entertainment precincts, which are usually determined by relevant liquor regulatory bodies. Police and court-imposed banning powers include legislated imposition, enforcement and breach mechanisms. Despite their formal nature and the potential consequences of a breach, in most jurisdictions there is no provision for independent or judicial appeal against a police decision to ban (Farmer 2019a, b).

The specifics of banning provisions differ across Australian states and territories, but their underpinning rationale is generally consistent (Farmer and Clifford 2020). The banning of patrons, from licensed premises and/or wider public areas (such as nightlife entertainment precincts), is generally presumed to change the behaviours of recipients and deter non-recipients from engaging in disorderly behaviour (Curtis et al. 2018), increase/ensure public safety, and prevent crime. Patron bans often form part of a suite of provisions implemented to address alcohol-related disorderly behaviours, and their effectiveness can be limited by the difficulty of discerning the effects of specific measures. Across Australia, banning provisions have typically been implemented without ongoing scrutiny of their use or effects (Farmer et al. 2018, 2021).

Police officers are primarily responsible for the ‘on-the-ground’ enforcement of banning provisions but this relies on the support of licensees, venue managers, and their security personnel—to identify banned patrons and, where appropriate, to alert police to potential breaches of bans. Typically, such ‘third-party policing’ (Mazerolle and Ransley 2002) of patron bans requires access to photographs and other personal details in order to identify banned patrons. In recent years, technological solutions have started to help with enforcement. Networked closed-circuit television (CCTV) and identification (ID) scanners support more proactive and immediate monitoring of individuals attempting to enter or otherwise be present within a licensed venue (de Andrade 2021; Miller et al. 2016a, b; Palmer et al. 2010). ID scanners can detect patrons who have been banned by matching the scanned patron ID documents (such as a driver’s licence or passport) against a database of banned patrons—either specific to the venue or, where available, networked across multiple venues (Miller et al. 2019). For venues operating without ID scanners, the identification of banned patrons is much more unreliable and largely depends upon key personnel knowing and recognising people who have been banned. ID scanners can improve the efficiency and accuracy of identification and also enable venues to understand from where a patron may have been banned and why. For example, while a police-imposed ban will be enforced, a venue may decide to allow entry to a patron who has been banned by a venue other than their own.

In 2016, the Queensland Government implemented a broad-based multifaceted policy, Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence (TAFV) (Queensland Government 2015). Comparable measures had already been introduced in other jurisdictions. For example, Victoria’s Alcohol Action Plan: 2008–2013 (Department of Justice 2008) incorporated a suite of initiatives which included tougher licensing rules, a significant increase in the level of nightlife policing and the introduction of police-imposed banning notices. In February 2014, New South Wales (NSW) passed a swathe of measures (under the Liquor Amendment Act 2014) which included a 1.30 a.m. lockout for licensed venues in two Sydney entertainment precincts, a 3.00 a.m. cessation for the service of alcohol and a freeze on new liquor licences.

Queensland’s TAFV policy had three broad aims: (1) a safer night-time environment, in particular within entertainment precincts; (2) cultural change around alcohol consumption, including more responsible drinking practices within designated entertainment precincts in Queensland: known as Safe Night Precincts (SNPs); and (3) to provide a regulatory framework that balanced the interests of the liquor industry with a reduction in alcohol-fuelled violence (Miller et al. 2021a, b). The legislation included a state-wide 2am last drinks provision (or 3am for last drinks in SNPs), introduced on 1 July 2016. A year later, networked ID scanners were mandated for all licensed premises within an SNP with registered trading time(s) after midnight (scanners are required to operate from 22:00 until closing) (Miller et al. 2017, 2019). The ID scanners can recognise hundreds of different types of identification, but a driver’s licence is typically used. Each scanner is networked through central servers and the details of any banned person are downloaded to all venues operating a scanner within around ten minutes of the ban being imposed. The QUANTEM project undertook an evaluation of the TAFV policy in 15 SNPs (Miller et al. 2017, 2019), and findings have been reported within a range of papers (Carah et al. 2021; Ferris et al. 2021; Miller et al. 2021b; Taylor et al. 2019).

Patron banning was operational across Queensland prior to the Queensland Government introducing the TAFV Policy in 2016. The Liquor Act 1992 (s.165) formalised the right of licensees to refuse entry, remove, and exclude patrons (for a period of time determined by the licensee) for disorderly behaviour, intoxication or for causing a disturbance. In Queensland, all venue security staff are licensed, and each venue maintains a register of the staff employed on any given night, as well as a record of all incidents. Section 602 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 empowered police officers to issue a banning notice for up to one month. The initial period was ten days but this was amended, after the TAFV evaluation, by the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021. The one-month ban may be extended at the discretion of a police officer at or above the rank of Senior Sergeant, for a total period of up to three months from the start of the initial order. The ban can exclude the recipient from a licensed venue, a class of venues, a public area designated within an SNP, a specified distance from an SNP, or a stated event held in a public place.

To assist with the effective enforcement and policing of patron bans, the 2016 TAFV provisions introduced mandatory networked ID scanners to venues within SNPs following the recommendations from the interim report to the Queensland Government (Ferris et al. 2017). Ownership of the banning scheme is shared by the Queensland Police Service and the Office of Gaming and Liquor Regulation. People can easily move and re-locate to areas that are not covered by ID scanners, but these areas do not have nightclubs and venues close at 2am. In general, the areas not covered by ID scanners are typified by single venues that are geographically diffuse, rather than being nightlife centres. Many larger venues outside SNPs also operate ID scanners. Queensland was the first Australian jurisdiction to enforce patron bans by linking the banned patron registry with ID scanner technology (de Andrade et al. 2021; Miller et al. 2019).

It is acknowledged that the assessment of specific provisions implemented to reduce alcohol-related harms can be limited by the multifaceted nature of policies, such as Queensland’s TAFV. However, there is value in understanding the perceptions of people directly affected by particular provisions. This paper draws from the rich source of qualitative data reported within the final evaluation of Queensland’s TAFV policy (Miller et al. 2019). The current study explores the experiences and attitudes of stakeholders, from a range of sectors, to patron banning in Queensland.


Ethics approval was obtained from the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (2016–244). As a part of the broader evaluation of the Queensland Government’s TAFV policies (Queensland Government 2015), key informant interviews were conducted for the purpose of developing a comprehensive picture of the effects of the legislative changes. Patron opinions were gathered during nightlife interviews as part of the wider project, and these findings are reported in the full government report (Miller et al. 2019). This paper focuses on key informant responses to questions covering Queensland’s patron banning provisions. To ensure adequate representation, at least five people from each of the following sectors were invited to an interview: policy makers; hotel licensees; police; licensing personnel; and local council employees. Representatives from the health sector, SNPs, alcohol producers, security firms, and transport (taxi drivers) were also interviewed.

Between 1 February 2018 and 6 August 2018, researchers identified and contacted prospective interview participants. Individuals who had approached the research team or the Queensland Government to express interest in being interviewed were also invited. In general, relevant organisations (e.g. Queensland Police Service, local councils, and licensed venues) were contacted via CEO/managerial/licensee contacts and prospective interviewees were identified by their organisation. Police, licensees, and medical personnel were interviewed from each region in Queensland that has a Safe Night Precinct, and other key informants came from across the state. Following verbal consent, a mutually convenient interview time was agreed. Most interviews were conducted by telephone and recorded digitally. Six interviews were conducted face to face at a venue of the key informant’s choosing.

Semi-structured interview questioning allowed for consistent coverage of key themes and enabled any emergent issues to be further explored. Questions were presented across four domains: (1) understanding of the TAFV policy; (2) awareness of and attitudes to the TAFV interventions (including patron banning); (3) current local issues (e.g. barriers to implementation of late-night alcohol restrictions, perceptions of impact, recommendations for improvement); and (4) the effects of the TAFV policy changes (licensees only). The attitudes towards and experiences of the patron banning legislation are the focus of this paper. Other aspects of the TAFV legislation are examined within separate papers (Carah et al. 2021).

The key informant interviews were de-identified, transcribed, and uploaded into NVivo 11 (QSR International 2015). Responses from key informants were analysed initially according to questionnaire structure to identify the sections of relevance, which were then examined using thematic analysis. Thematic analysis (or ‘narrative analysis’) is an inductive reflexive design where, rather than approach a problem with a theory already in place, the researcher identifies and explores themes derived from analysis of the data (Kellehear 1993). This study used a variant referred to as theoretical thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006), which allows qualitative research to begin with a theoretically informed system of themes (Brooks and King 2014). The analysis is driven by a particular interest and framed around the themes, to enable a detailed examination of specific aspects of the data.


The breakdown of key informants by type/sector is summarised in Table 1. Key informants were asked a series of questions regarding their experiences of, and opinions about, the patron banning provisions in Queensland. There was generally broad support, although some participants expressed concern about the discretionary nature of venue bans, and some participants suggested improvements to current patron banning practices.

Table 1 Key informant interview sample (n = 66)

Support for patron banning

Most informants who responded to the question, ‘what are your thoughts about patron banning?’ regarded banning as a positive intervention:

It’s always been a good thing. I would always encourage any venue where if they’ve had a problem with somebody, they need to be banned. … being able to share that with other people is a great thing. So anytime we can find out a little bit about somebody before they enter, certainly, it will make life a whole lot easier down the track. (Licensee-10)

Well, if we’ve been notified that a person’s banned then we won’t let them in either. … I don’t want anybody in that's a potential troublemaker. We’re not that desperate, if you know what I mean. We’re not just an open slab. We pick and choose who gets in. I mean if people don’t look right, they’ve got the wrong attitude, they look like they’ve had too much to drink or something, then we just don’t let them in. So, it’s not discrimination. It’s we’ve got to protect the good reputation that we’ve got, so ... (Licensee-08)

Some informants perceived banning as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour:

I think from that point of view it has a good deterrent value… you potentially are taking a person who is prone to misbehaviour away from other people and protecting the people who are in the precinct from them. So, there’s that element of it. There’s also the idea that … if someone has a ban against them and they know that if they’re detected when they come back out that they will then be punished more severely. The ban might be extended or they might then have a higher penalty, higher pecuniary penalty to pay. So, there’s the effect on their behaviour as a result of that. (Other-01)

I think the ban strategy is a reasonable one … And I think it is a deterrent for people misbehaving in licensed premises and in precincts. So, from that point of view, I think it is, I think it is a beneficial initiative yeah. (OLGR-05)

The patron banning legislation existed prior to the introduction of the broader TAFV suite of provisions, but the TAFV policies mandated the implementation of networked ID scanners within SNPs. The inclusion of the networked ID scanners changed the efficacy of banning notices (venues did not have to wait for an updated Friday Fax and then manually crossmatch IDs with a list of banned patrons) and improved the operational experience of patron banning. Venues with ID scanners—after scanning a patron’s ID—were alerted immediately if the patron was a banned person attempting to enter. From a licensee perspective, the introduction of networked scanners was regarded as a positive development:

As publicans you have the right to refuse anyone and we used to like if people were playing up, “Mate you’re not coming in.” “Why?” “Because every time you come in you’ve been playing up.” That part of it hasn’t changed - all it is now is its electronic so it’s, you know, instead of the guys on the door actually knowing who these people are that’s playing up, there’s a machine there so it’s not the same guy doing the job. You’ve just got that consistency and also if it’s bad enough and, you know, they can’t get into your venue if they’ve played up somewhere else and I do think that is a positive thing… (Licensee-20)

In a few instances, licensees explained that they used discretion when an ID scanner identified a banned person. This was generally for venue bans which were considered to be associated with low-level offences:

Yeah, most of them we’ve been following, though it depends on who it is. If we know them, we will have a chat to them and say, “Look, if you are involved in anything, we’ll extend your ban.” A lot of times they’ll be like, “No, it was a one-off. This guy did this,” or “she did that.” So, if they are involved in something in our venue when they’re on a venue specific ban and we’ve let them in, then we’ll extend it. So, we put in a ban for further term. (Licensee-03)

It’s up to the discretion of you, but if he’s been banned from one venue then it’s probably not worth letting him in. Most venues agree to it. And us personally if we came across someone and they were banned from another venue, and that does happen, we just say “look, you’ve been banned from this venue for this reason, maybe you need to go sort it out with them.” (Licensee-01)

Yeah, I think venue patron banning is good. I think that there could possibly be – some of the notes that come through on the venue bans are a bit sketchy. So, we use our discretion with some of them, but anything with violence, it’s a straight up no. (Licensee-19)

Police were also supportive of patron banning and, in one location, specifically noted that bans helped to change patron behaviour:

I think it’s very good. We have a liquor accord up here where our, all our local licensed premises get together once a month. Any issues or any people who have caused issues within the pub, they would nominate themselves and they would decide on whether they wished them to be banned for a certain amount of period. I know it has, it’s a good deterrent because a lot of locals don’t want to be on that ban because these bans will be 6 months, 12 months and that’s a long time for a local person… and people who have been on those bans and have come off it and gone back to the pub, there’s been a change in their behaviour on the licence premises because if they continue with that type of behaviour, they’re just going to get banned again. (Police-06)

Misuse of patron banning

Some key informants who were generally supportive of patron banning expressed concerns about the potential for the misuse of bans—particularly venue bans. For example, that a licensee could choose to ban someone for personal or vexatious reasons:

If I was to suggest another way for that to happen it would be that, you know, as a venue manager you say yes, I want to put a venue ban on that person because they abused one of the bartenders or they threw a glass or whatever, and that then should be escalated to the police or Licensing who then come into the venue, look at the footage, read some instant reports and then they make the final decision on yes or no, that should be a ban. I just don’t think that … an 18-year-old bartender or an 18-year-old security guard should have the ability to ban someone for life from all SNPs. (Licensee-17)

One key informant offered a possible scenario:

Yeah so, I’ve heard stories of people banning people for stupid reasons and like I’ve heard people come down from another venue saying a banning notice has come up, there’s no reason on there and they’ve said, “I slept with the security guard’s missus and they’ve banned me.” I’ve had another venue down the road giving someone like 10 years for like jumping the fence or, it’s like it’s just out of control these bans and I’m like, this is dangerous. (Licensee-21)

Key informants also alluded to an area of more general concern, regarding the lack of recourse to any sort of review for patrons banned by a venue:

I had an incident six months ago where … the guy was aggressive towards staff we said we’d remove him… he did get arrested and them um, that was it for us, we didn’t know any more about it. A few months later we put him in our system as banned and police put him as banned as well. He has then gone out in the Safe Night Precinct for a friend’s going away party, he was refused entry that was because of our banning. So, he wrote me an email to say “you know our-um-I was banned from your venue and was also banned by the police but the police banning has now lifted which it did after a month, but still banned by your venue” he was going to his lawyer and it was unconstitutional, it was a great email. … he was quite aggressive in the email, so we just banned him for another six months. (Licensee-01)

Can you give me a network that only does court and police bans? That’s all I want. I only want what the legislation says I have to have. I don’t want to be forced to be told about a person banned only by a venue. Because if I’m banned by a venue, I have no right of recourse. I’ve got to go to that venue and try and get that single venue to drop the ban, and they could give me a lifetime ban. Nothing in the system stops it. So, I could be banned for life under this legislation with no right of review. (Other-05)

Unsupportive of patron banning

A small number of key informants were opposed to patron banning. They generally felt that bans did not achieve much and could be easily circumvented:

… I suppose there’s the opportunity that maybe it might bring attention to somebody’s drinking habits but realistically like it’s quite shaming and I mean if someone is going to be banned from one place they’ll just go to another place. Again, like I don’t think it’s going to create behaviour change. In some it might instigate reflection and desire, you know, might be impetus to change but overall, I think, yeah, it’s probably only mildly effective. Yeah, I don’t think it’s an answer. (Health-11)

…if you’ve done something wrong you should be punished accordingly by the law, and that punishment should be sufficient to warrant the crime, why be banned from a physical area, like, it just seems really weird to me, you know what I mean? (Licensee-18)

They work around it. So, they either go to South Brisbane or they either go to the smaller bars, or they come into my venue before 10 o’clock… I don’t see how the banning on the night actually does anything because they can go to another bar where there’s no scanning, or they can go to South Brisbane where there’s no scanning. (Licensee-15)

Behavioural effects of patron banning

Most key informants perceived that patron banning could have long-term effects on the behaviour of recipients and that these effects could extend beyond those who had received a ban:

To me, as I said, I think it’s in too early but, yes, if someone’s been banned from another venue, I certainly don’t want them here. I’m a big believer that if you’ve been banned from one venue you should be banned from [town], I think that would change people’s behaviour big time. (Licensee-12)

If you like going out on the town and you’re a young person and you know that you misbehave once and you’ve been banned for six months, I mean if that’s what you do every Friday and Saturday, I think it’s got to change your behaviour in some way. (Licensee-01)

One informant explained that ID scanners, by recording patron details upon entry to a venue, have a positive effect on patron behaviour:

… I certainly do think it’s changed people’s behaviour. You know people are quite cunning and people are you know they’ll do things if they think they can get away with them so if they know we have their identification … they know we have their details and things like that. I think definitely it’s been a factor in minimising people who are committing offences. (Other-06)

A minority of key informants thought banning did not have any long-term effects on patron behaviour and typically argued that this was because banned patrons just went elsewhere:

No, I don’t think it makes them think twice because if they’re banned from the SNP, they’re simply going to the suburban pub and they can still get their entertainment and drinks up ‘til two AM or they can go down newly built venues within the casinos. (Licensee-07)

Another informant suggested that people will not change their behaviour, particularly when alcohol is involved:

No, not really, if they’re going to play up, they’ll play up and if they get banned, they, especially in Surfers Paradise they are banned from everywhere, so it certainly wrecks their night for a while, or depending if they get a two month ban or a three-month ban depending on what they’ve done. But I don’t think they think about it too much, people when alcohol’s around, people are people. (Licensee-12)

Length of bans

Most key informants felt that the length of police bans in particular was not adequate: at the time of the study, police bans could be imposed for up to ten days and then extended to three months. In order to be a deterrent, there was a feeling that patrons who had committed an offence should be excluded for a longer period:

… someone like me personally or my friends would only come out once a month maybe so I don’t know, if they play up, they think, “Oh well I get to save money for a month”. Maybe longer. Six months minimum maybe. (Licensee-21)

Look probably a few months. Yeah, like I would say three months is a fair time to allow that person to clean their act up a little bit and pull their head in, but ten days is certainly not enough. You know if someone commits an offence on a Saturday night, they only have to miss one weekend and then they can go back out with no problems. So yeah, I don’t think it’s long enough. (Other-06)

There was also a view that the ban lengths should increase for repeat offenders:

Oh look, I think the first offence; it should be a minimum of three months. I think if the second offence, it should be a year, and depending on the type of defence. It’s a hard one … Each case is obviously different. (Licensee-02)

One police informant felt that the punishment needed to better fit the crime:

… depends on the offence committed. The length of a ban should be determined by the class of offence committed e.g., offences against the person should be three months straight up. Idiot behaviour ten days. Extensions up to 12 months without court involvement. (Police-07)

Some informants regarded police-imposed ban lengths as sufficient, but these views were the minority:

Well, the police ones seem long enough, which is normally a few months. It depends on how bad their behaviour is or what they’ve done wrong, so yeah, I think they’re long enough. (Lincesee-01)


Banning troublemakers from areas in and around licensed venues is a popular mechanism for managing patron behaviour. Across Australian jurisdictions, powers to ban have steadily expanded (Farmer et al. 2018; Farmer and Clifford 2020). Despite the popularity of banning as a way to address problematic behaviours, and an increase in banning focused research (Farmer et al. 2018; Curtis et al. 2022; Sogaard 2018; Taylor et al. 2021), there is still limited literature exploring the specific impact of patron banning on the individual, the venue, or the wider community. The use of exclusion reflects key assumptions in relation to alcohol-related disorderly behaviour and the effective management of risks to which it may give rise. Farmer and Clifford (2020) conducted a review of patron banning policy, practice and oversight within Australian jurisdictions. The review highlighted the repeated assumption that spatial exclusion increases public safety but found very little evidence that police, licensing agencies, or governments monitor the use or effects of patron banning. The evidence supporting banning-related interventions remains largely unsubstantiated (Taylor et al. 2018, 2021). Displacement, to different venues or entertainment areas, is a widely perceived effect of banning—and was noted by the key informants in this study. However, there is limited evidence (or objective ability) to quantify its nature or extent. Without empirical evidence to direct best practice with respect to patron banning, it is unclear how the expectation of increased public safety can be assured.

Patron banning has been found to be generally popular with key stakeholders within nightlife precincts, including venue operators and licensees (Miller et al. 2016a, b), and even patrons (Miller et al. 2012). This overall perspective is reflected in the findings of the current study. Key informants provided a range of views which, for the most part, were consistent with previous patron banning literature (Miller et al. 2016a, b). While a small number of interviewees felt that bans could have more negative outcomes for individuals, the majority believed that patron bans were an integral part of nightlife environments and an important tool for patron management and education. The extent to which this perceived value translates to actual effects is less clear. For patron banning to change behaviour, patrons must be aware of the provisions, and sufficiently deterred by the risk of receiving a ban. In a study of community awareness of banning in Victoria, Curtis et al. (2018) reported very low levels of knowledge and understanding. The level of awareness of banning in Queensland could not be discerned from the interviews undertaken for this study. Consideration also needs to be given to possible unintended consequences of banning. For example, the risk that ban recipients may seek to disrupt venues from which they are banned, may continue to cause trouble elsewhere, or regard their ban with pride. In Denmark, Sogaard (2018) found that the introduction of police-imposed zonal bans exacerbated rather than reduced anti-social behaviours, and the possibility of being banned increased the risk of violence among patrons.

There were some concerns expressed about venue banning from key informants who were otherwise supportive of police bans—particularly the potential for the misuse of venue bans. In an examination of licensee-imposed bans in Victoria and South Australia, and of patron banning more broadly, Farmer (2019a, b) set out a number of concerns regarding the absence of adequate oversight of the use of bans—particularly by venues—and the potential for banning powers to be misused. These concerns were echoed by some of the interviewees in this study. Without appropriate scrutiny and accountability, there is a clear risk that banning provisions can be abused. Key approaches to mitigate this risk are to ensure that a timely and independent review process is available to enable recipients to challenge their ban (Farmer 2019b), and to ensure that licensees are accountable for bans they impose. To address the latter, in Queensland, one of the key recommendations of the QUANTEM project was the introduction of legislation to tackle the misuse of banning powers (Miller et al. 2019). Part 7 of the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 amended Sect. 185 of the Liquor Act 1992 to create a vexatious ban offence.

Patron banning is most likely to ensure public safety and prevent crime when the banned individual can be readily identified, and venue entry prevented. The key informants generally perceived that the use of ID scanners within venues supported the patron banning provisions. However, that the ID scanner network was only operational within the SNPs limited its potential beneficial effects—as banned patrons could choose to attend venues outside of SNPs, which would not be alerted to their ban. The ability to receive an immediate alert when a banned person attempts to enter a venue clearly assists the enforcement of patron bans, but there is currently limited published research exploring the effectiveness of ID scanners. A recent study by de Andrade et al. (2021) examined ID scanner data from 15 SNPs in Queensland. Of the scans undertaken during the period of the study, 0.21% detected an active banning notice. Of these, the majority had been issued by licensees (93.3%), with the remainder issued by police (5%) and courts (less than 2%). Further research is needed to quantify the costs and effects of ID scanner use.

In the current study, the length of bans imposed by police officers was a common concern, with some informants suggesting that the initial ten-day ban should increase and be longer again for subsequent offences. A ban of ten days will typically be effective for only one weekend and may not be regarded as a sufficient penalty or deterrent. There is an intuitive appeal for longer bans, but current policing and sentencing evidence (Menendez and Weatherburn 2016; Mauer 2010) suggests that penalties should not appear disproportionate to the offence. Farmer et al. (2018) reviewed patron banning provisions within different jurisdictions across Australia. Despite the steady expansion of banning powers, they found limited evidence to confirm which combination of duration and ban scope is the most effective in managing and/or changing behaviour. Using banning notice data collated through the QUANTEM project, Taylor et al. (2021) examined police-issued ten-day bans applied across Queensland’s three largest night-time entertainment precincts (Brisbane Central Business District, Fortitude Valley, and Surfers Paradise Central Business District). The research identified banning notices imposed on particular weekends and compared the quantum of specific offences recorded on subsequent weekends. The authors found no significant relationship between the utilisation of bans and the number of serious assaults, common assaults, or good order offences over the following weekend. The QUANTEM project recommendations included the extension of the length of initial police bans to one month (Miller et al. 2019)—which was later implemented under the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021.


Despite the lack of evidence of their effectiveness, patron banning remains an integral part of licensed venue and patron behaviour management. In Queensland, the introduction of mandatory ID scanning supported more proactive banning enforcement and provided opportunities to improve patron safety and management. Patron banning was broadly supported by the key informants interviewed for this study. Licensees in particular perceived bans as a positive intervention which could reduce problems in venues. ID scanners enabled licensees to identify people who have been banned from another venue, which helped to reduce harms in their own. Some informants felt that bans can have long-term beneficial effects on patron behaviour, while others noted that any impact is compromised by the possibility of displacement and the lack of enforcement of bans outside of SNPs. Some informants expressed concerns at the ease with which a person is able to receive a venue ban and the possibility of their misuse: that venue staff may not be the right people to implement SNP-wide bans and that this decision should be made by police, the courts or liquor licensing officials. Key informants were consistent in their view that the initial police-imposed patron bans were not long enough, as ten days did not present a sufficient consequence or deterrent. The key informant concerns regarding venue ban misuse and police ban length were supported by recommendations set out within the QUANTEM project, which the Queensland Government accepted. Changes were made via subsequent legislative amendments.