Tension pulsates at city’s ranks

WAGGA’S taxi ranks are being described as tension hot-spots, with drunken revellers forced to wait up to two hours to get home.
Nanjing Night Net

Calls have beenrenewedto heightensecurity at the Station Place cab rank where many Baylis Street partygoers congregate.

It comes after the notorious Kebab shop skirmish last month left a foul taste in the mouths of the community.

A local taxi driver, who did not want to be named, said she was frequently hassled by customers and often saw fights break out at the top end of Baylis Street.

“It happens so much you wonder if it’s even worth calling the police,” she said.

“They all get out of the hotels at the same time and it just creates so much anger and frustration that you can’t help but be nervous.

“I did call for the police,but I have been known to drive away before when a fight has broken out and this was no different.”

He added thatthe assaults could have been prevented ifsecurity guards were present.

However,alcohol-fuelled violence has dropped by 44per cent inside Wagga’s licensed venues as publicans continue to tighten the taps.

Wagga liquor accord secretary David Barnhill said the initiatives, combined with the Riverina’s “barred from one, barred from all” policy, had been used to good effect in curbing late-nightviolence.

“There’s no doubt it hasworked,” Mr Barnhill said.

“The consequences have been rampedup and people are using more common sense.”

The formerrugby league identity-turned publican said a “considerable” number of offenders had already been penalised under the hard line new approach.

He did not downplay incidents at places like taxi ranks.

“I’m not washing my hands –alcohol is still a factor in some crimes–but it’s about how the punishments are dealt,” Mr Barnhill said.

Kieren Mitchell said the issue was exacerbated by lengthy waits for a taxi at the end of the night.

“It seems like there isn’t enough on the road,” he said.

“People get desperate and start to cut in line and then arguments and fights break out.

“If there were more options to get home, people wouldn’t hang around and end up in a fight near as much.

“That’s the solution.”

Anyone who witnesses a physical altercation in Wagga’s streets should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 666 or Wagga police on 6922 2655.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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