Licensed premises lighting: creating ambience or violence

Christopher GregoryDavid Bartlett2, Shannon Walding2

1Ground Floor Police Headquarters, Brisbane 2Griffith Criminology Institute, Gold Coast Campus.

Numerous studies have highlighted the crime prevention opportunities afforded by increased lighting.  In the context of licensed premises many scholars have associated improvements in lighting with decreases in problem behaviours such as intoxication and assaults.  However, studies which seek to quantify lighting levels in licensed premises typically use subjective observational measures and tend to suggest that lighting levels are simply one of several environmental factors associated with violence.  This two-year study reports the results of the Queensland Police Service licensed premises lighting project which objectively measured lighting lux levels in 150 late trading hotels and nightclubs across Queensland.


Additionally, data was collected on patron demographics, venue design, noise types and levels to examine the effect that lighting levels, individually or in combination with other factors, have on violence within licensed premises.  The results indicate that lighting levels predict violent offences, and to a lesser extent drug offences on licensed premises, independent of factors such as general premises amenity, and noise.  The results are discussed in the context of utilising improved lighting to reduce violence on licensed premises and accessing regulatory levers available to workplace health and safety regulators to assist in liquor regulation and crime reduction.


Christopher Gregory is a Sergeant of Police in charge of the Brisbane Liquor Unit, a section of the Queensland Police Service tasked with licensed premises and alcohol regulation and harm minimisation strategy implementation.  For the past 12 years of his 30 year policing career, Sergeant Gregory has designed and implemented harm minimisation strategies and worked collaboratively with stakeholder agencies to ensure patron safety in and around licensed premises.

Sergeant Gregory is highly regarded in policing licensed premises within Queensland.  Many of his strategies have been adopted state-wide and inter-state to improve both the policing response to alcohol related violence as well as industry self-regulation, to enhance patron and staff safety.


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