IT’S taken years of hard work and a hardened attitude to drunken antics but Tamworth’s Imperial Hotel no longer has to wear the label of one of the state’s most violent pubs.
The latest violent venues list was released this week by NSW Hospitality Minister George Souris and the popular venue wasn’t an inclusion.
The news was welcomed by hotel publican Matt Zell who believed the efforts of management and staff in reducing alcohol-related violence had paid off. In recent years the Imperial Hotel had dramatically increased its CCTV cameras, security staff and introduced an electronic licence scanner to keep track of who enters the venue.
As it complied with level one and level two restrictions while on the pubs and clubs list, Mr Zell said the hotel has no intention of loosening its rules.
“It’s a great reflection on the staff at the hotel, we’ve worked very hard and made it a priority this year to try and get off that list,” Mr Zell said.
“We’ve made some enemies along the way, but you’ve got to be diligent.
“I think a lot of it comes down to our patrons as well. It’s been a long education process with our patrons that violence won’t be tolerated and there’ll be consequences if they misbehave.”
Mr Zell said the hotel had worked closely with Tamworth police including licensing Sergeant Doug Chester and Inspector Jeff Budd on strategies to reduce violent offences and drunken patron behaviour.
“Probably the three big ones (strategies) for us are no shots, no glass and high visibility with security,” Mr Zell said.
“We’re very happy with the results and hopefully we can continue to stay off the list.
“We are coming up to that period when there’s warmer weather, Christmas, new year and the festival season.
“I hope that we can continue to educate our patrons on what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.
“The biggest challenge for us, is moving forward and we have to make sure we maintain this.
“I think we’ve certainly made it a more enjoyable place for patrons.
“There are only a minority of them who mess up and make it difficult for the majority who just want to go out and have a great time.
“Our patron base as a whole as gotten very loyal and respectful but there’s still a rogue element out there that doesn’t like to conform.”