Saturday, August 2, 2008

'Drunk tanks' planned for troublemakers

DRUNK tanks to hold intoxicated troublemakers until they sober up are being considered by police.

The sobering-up centres would be used in the fight against drunkenness and street crime, The Herald Sun reports.

Senior officers held talks with the Brumby Government this week about the tanks, which are similar to holding cells but with safeguards to protect detainees' health.

The Herald Sun believes they would be modelled on overseas "bed-and-bucket" facilities, with few fittings, allowing drunks to be treated and closely monitored.

In May, sobering-up centres were backed by Australia's chief police commissioners.

Police Minister Bob Cameron confirmed the issue was raised this week.

Based on overseas models, the drunk tanks would have security cameras.

People arrested for being drunk would be held until they were deemed to be no threat to themselves or the public.

Police refused to respond to Herald Sun questions on how the tanks would work and where they would be located.

But a spokeswoman said: "Victoria Police is constantly considering options to combat public drunkenness and disorderly behaviour."

Mr Cameron's spokeswoman said: "We've had some preliminary discussions with police about the concept."

She said police were yet to make a formal submission.

Melbourne's CBD or regional centres such as Geelong and Ballarat would be the most likely candidates for the first drunk tanks.

They would free up space in holding cells and enable police to protect drunks at risk of harming themselves or isolate those who might harm others.


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