Study: Limited support for claims ID scanners reduce late night violence

Dec 20, 2013 by Sandra Kingston

Research by Deakin University has cast doubt on the effectiveness of ID scanners as a way of reducing disorder and violence in and around licensed premises.

Lead author of the research and criminology expert, Associate Professor Darren Palmer, said while people needed to be careful about how the results are presented the study provided limited support for claims alcohol-related assaults in and around Geelong's late-night venues have declined since the introduction of ID scanners.

"Between May 2007 and May 2008 there was no discernible reduction in either reported assaults or admissions," he said.

"Assaults continued to rise despite the ID scanners and other interventions," he said.

"Emergency Department data was similar with no evidence of decline after ID scanners were introduced.

"Interviews found key figures were supportive of the use of ID scanners and believed they were having an impact inside the venues as troublemakers were being deterred by removing anonymity and enabling the banning of troublesome patrons.

"The overriding finding of the research showed single interventions such as ID scanners might seem to offer a quick solution, but violence in and around licensed premises is not so easily fixed. "

Associate Professor Palmer said ID scanning had been introduced in the Geelong CBD in 2007 and eventually made mandatory.

"By the time this study started in 2009 national media coverage widely praised the Geelong ID scanning initiative for its innovation and effectiveness in reducing alcohol-related violence," he said.

"We wanted to test those claims."

The research was funded by the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Associate Professor Palmer said ID scanners were favoured as an intervention because they were easy to 'see' and had an effect on people who wanted to see action.

"But beyond that we need to be careful about assumptions regarding deterrence and the accompanying loss of anonymity," he said.

"Most assaults and other offences are not planned in a rational, calculating manner but occur, often quickly or on the spot.

"Yes, there have been recent reports of a growing trend in planned, unprovoked attacks but as far as I am aware there is no detailed, systematic evidence of this."

Associate Professor Palmer said there was a need to look longer term to try to identify trends and build an evidence-based policy framework.

"There needs to be a much stronger commitment to understand in detail how interventions work, with what impact and with what other factors shaping the success or failure of the interventions," he said.

"A great opportunity exists in Sydney where ID scanners are part of the planned changes to address violence.

"While we have been very fortunate in having wonderful cooperation from the City of Greater Geelong, the local Victoria Police and the Community Safety Committee in terms of supporting the research and understanding the difficulties of accounting for multiple interventions, the pressures still remain to be more active and introduce more interventions.

"But this makes it more difficult to produce the evidence that everyone wants."

Associate Professor Palmer said more concerning was the loss of privacy and lack of interest in detailed regulation of the use of ID scanners.

"We are creating what are becoming significant databases yet they remain at the whim of private operators with no control except a personal ethical commitment," he said.

"That's all well and good for good operators but it is not an industry without unethical behaviour.

"Systems operators place conditions on use of their systems but given the data being collected far more needs to be done."

Further information:

The report 'ID scanners in the night-time economy: Social sorting or social order?' and is No.466 of the AIC Trends and Issues publication series. It was written by Deakin University researchers Associate Professor Darren Palmer, Dr Ian Warren and Associate Professor Peter Miller.

The report examines the impact of ID scanners on the level of disorder and violence in and around licensed premises. These are identification scanners placed at the entry to licensed venues that either scan documents such as passports or licenses, or scan fingerprints that are then linked to a simultaneous photograph. The data is then stored on the systems and can have notations added such as placing bans on patrons that cause trouble. They can also be searched to match descriptions of people who have allegedly committed offences.

Explore further: World population likely to peak by 2070

More information: Read the report:… ndi_pdf/tandi466.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Harnessing the ID in glioma

Dec 17, 2012

Gliomas are the most common form of brain tumor. They are highly aggressive and effective treatments are not currently available. The tumors contain glioma initiating cells (GICs), a population that is highly similar to neural ...

Research: Restricting pub closing times reduces assaults

Sep 16, 2010

A study published in the international scientific journal Addiction reveals that restrictions on pub closing times imposed in 2008 within the Australian city of Newcastle have reduced the assault rate by 37 per cent.

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

17 hours ago

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

18 hours ago

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

21 hours ago

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

Oct 22, 2014

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

User comments : 0