An evaluation of patron banning provisions in Western Australia: benefits, limitations and the particular challenges of enforcement

Dr Clare Farmer1

1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

The banning of patrons, from private and public locations, is generally presumed to prevent crime, reduce anti-social behaviour, change the actions of recipients, and increase public safety. Across most jurisdictions in which patron bans are imposed their demonstrable effects are limited, and provisions are typically implemented without ongoing scrutiny of their use. Little is also known about the enforcement of bans and, in particular, the challenges faced by venues and private security typically charged with their ‘third party policing’ (Mazerolle & Ransley 2002).

Since early 2020, a comprehensive examination of two key patron banning provisions (barring notices and prohibition orders) has been underway in Western Australia. The study comprises detailed analyses of offence and offender data, a survey to explore general awareness and understanding, and in-depth stakeholder interviews.

The findings reveal mixed results. Data analysis suggests some notable benefits, but there is a lack of overall knowledge of the provisions, their scope and consequential effect/s for more serious offenders are limited, and fundamental concerns have emerged regarding the specific operation and enforceability of patron banning.

This paper will draw out the key issues and discuss possible next steps.


Dr Clare Farmer is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University. Her research primarily explores policing and criminal justice processes – with a particular focus on procedural justice, policy development and individual rights. Many of Dr Farmer’s  publications examine the complexities of summary justice, discretionary police decision-making and the police use of force.

In March 2021, Dr Farmer was appointed to the Adult Parole Board in Victoria, as a community member, having previously served as an adult and youth court Magistrate in England.


Dec 10 2021