Australia Versus England: Drunken Violence

Since moving to Australia I have stopped reading daily newspapers. I was beginning to bore with the papers in the UK just before I emigrated, so I really couldn’t see the point of immersing myself daily in Australian news when I got here.

But I do like to check the online news here in Australia, just to browse the headlines to see what’s going on. And if I want to know what is really happening in England, I log on to the The Sun. That’s how I know quite a few of you have woken up to the snow this morning.

For more meaningful news, I tend to look at news.bbc.co.uk. Seems strange, but that’s when I first heard about “Operation Unite”, in which police across Australia and New Zealand “stand united against the drunken violence on our streets”.

Anyone reading the article….

“This weekend police will flood into towns and cities in an unprecedented show of force”…….”It is an attempt to send the message that excessive alcohol consumption and bad behaviour will not be tolerated”…….(Read complete article here)

………. will surely be left thinking that Australia has a real problem with drunks fighting.

About Operation Unite.

There were two schools of thought here about Operation Unite.

School 1

The first was that it’s about time the police cracked down on all this violence and taught the yob’s a lesson. This group, for the most part, do read their newspapers daily and are guided by headlines such as…

“Reclaim the Streets”, Daily Telegraph, (yes, Australia has one too), “Taking Back Our Streets”, Herald Sun” and “We’ve Had Enough” from The Courier Mail.

School 2

The second school of thought said that, well, yes, there is sometimes a bit of trouble in certain areas of dense pubbery and people do sometimes fight, but it’s not that big a problem.

Operation Unite is nothing more than a PR stunt designed to make the politicians and the police force look good. It will give the impression that between them they are making our streets safe. It’s just a back patting exercise. And who knows, the electorate might just remember it at the next election.

There is also a third school of thought. Mine! And here it is…….

How operation Unite was setup.

Operation Unite was announced in the press on or around the 19 November 2009. Everyone in Australia and New Zealand (except me, remember I don’t read the papers) was made aware that on the weekend of Friday 11th of December and Saturday 12th of December, there would be something like double the usual police presence at all the major known trouble areas, and they were there to clamp down on drunken behaviour.

Effectively, everybody was on three weeks notice.

Those of you who do live in England, I want you to kick back in your chair, close your eyes and just imagine what you think might have happened on the streets of England on the nights of the 11th and 12th of December, given the same circumstances.

Ponder the following: Would our thugs decide to stay in that weekend to avoid trouble? Or would they regard the announcement as a challenge? An invitation outside? Would they use their mobile phones and computer connections to organise gangs and rendezvous?

Remember, we are talking about a situation where the British Police have given three weeks notice that they will be coming out in force, visiting YOUR pub looking for drunks so they can curb alcohol related violence.

So, what kind of weekend do you think it would be?

For those of you who don’t live in England, let me remind you of a time almost 20 years ago, when a certain government try to impose taxes that the majority of the British public were not best pleased about. This video closely resembles how I feel Operation Unite would have looked like had it taken place in England…

Except, they hadn’t had a drink! So perhaps it may have turned out slightly worse than that with added booze?

In the event, here in Australia, something like 2,000 people were arrested over the weekend for drink related offenses. Interestingly, at least two of them were police officers. Oh, the shame! You really would have thought if they were the lucky ones to have a night off, they’d at least have the sense to stay at home.

I have searched high and low for evidence of Operation Unite related injuries. All I can find is a story of how one New South Wales police officer was king hit, which here in Australia means punched with full force.

That’s it!

I have said many times on this blog and I also mention it in my free e-book, “20 Reasons Why YOU Should Move to Australia“, that I do not believe Australia has anywhere near the same levels of street violence as in the UK.

For me, Operation Unite proves it.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • John Wilkes February 13, 2010, 11:18 am | Link

    I come from Liverpool ( the real one ) and have been to forty-seven countries but have only been attacked in one of them – Australia -three times . Maybe I was unlucky in the
    ‘Lucky Country ‘ but was told not to use suburban trains in Melbourne after 8pm. Actually, on two of the occasions I did the attacking to defend , in one case , my girl friend , from four youths at a fairground in Melbourne . Once I’d informed them of where I was from they soon backed off . They obviously didn’t like the odds! While girls will use the trains out of Liverpool late at night and feel safe , I would advise them against doing the same in Melbourne .

    • BobinOz February 13, 2010, 9:09 pm | Link

      I did stay for six nights in Sydney and witnessed two senseless attacks, not on people, but on parked cars??? Both times, drunken youths sipping from beer cans just started kicking the cars as they walk past.

      I have walked the streets of Melbourne at night and felt totally safe, but then again I was right in the centre of the city. Not in one of the suburbs.

      I think violence happens everywhere around the world, especially late at night when people have been drinking. I think you’ve been unlucky in Melbourne (just been named 3rd best country in the world to live in) but you sure have been lucky everywhere else!

  • BobinOz January 27, 2010, 11:37 pm | Link

    The press have a lot to answer for, but hey! They’ve got papers to sell.

    I’m not saying the UK has a “serious” crime problem but I will say I feel much safer here in Australia. If you have been reading my posts lately, you will have noticed my news summaries. I’ve only recently started watching the news but I have been amazed at some of the stories. These items would never make in UK news.

    For example: you must have noticed lately that Australia has come under attack for being a “racist” nation because of attacks on our Indian population. The other night, on the six o’clock news as a main item, the intrepid news reporter went to a suburb in Brisbane to interview an Indian who was being victimised for what he said was a “racist” attack.

    In a nutshell, the attack was a car driving past and firing stones at his house with a catapult. One stone had put a hole in the window and the other a tiny mark on the brickwork.

    It was main news!

    Please don’t get me wrong, nobody should catapult stones at anybody’s house. Nobody should be racist. But when ever did throwing stones at somebody make the news in the UK?

    Think about that!

  • mj January 27, 2010, 6:12 am | Link

    True, if you read the press too much you might think we are all living in hell! Drunken violence and general rowdiness is a problem in the UK but the murder rate has just fallen to its lowest level in a decade so that’a good news, and I bet is you looked at how many of those murder victims were involved in crime, gangs, drugs etc themselves, it would be a lot. The number of genuinely innocent law-abiding citizens who get killed is very small for a population of 61 million.

  • mj January 23, 2010, 3:38 am | Link

    I think that the ‘drunken violence’ thing is overplayed in the UK too though, it id a problem for sure and there are rough places in most towns and cities that you wouldn’t want to be outside at closing time but it’s pretty obvious which those places are, just avoid them and you can have a great time and never see any trouble. I’ve been going out to. Pubs, bars and restaurants in the UK for 15 years and never found myself in any trouble.

    On the other hand on my time on oz, I witnessed a mass brawl involving about 30 locals and visitors in a tiny one-horse town in NSW (batlow)

    • BobinOz January 23, 2010, 8:36 pm | Link

      Well, yes. It’s no surprise that wherever you go, the press will make something sound worse than it is. They do it here in Australia with street violence and they do the same in England with street violence.

      But which country has the biggest problem? Statistically it is not something that can be proved, so I can only go by my experiences. Like you, I have been going to UK pubs for many, many years. More than 30. I only ever got beat up 358 times. Just kidding!

      No, seriously, I have seen a fair amount of street and pub violence back in England. Haven’t seen any yet in Australia, but then I’m an old man now and I mostly stay in. I just go to barbecues. But on the dozen or so occasions I have been out I have seen nothing even close to a problem.

      I stood shoulder to shoulder in a heaving pub in the city, watching the FA Cup final until around three o’clock in the morning amongst football fans of all different clubs, drinking heavily, getting drunk (not me of course, the others) and not a single punch was thrown.

      But whilst the press can make a big deal off a little bit of trouble, they can’t lie about fatalities. Last time I lived in England, I seem to remember violent, drunken, mindless attacks that ended in death being almost a weekly occurrence. Here it is still very rare.

  • BobinOz December 21, 2009, 1:55 pm | Link

    Yes, most places have got “worse” over the last 10 years and I have heard of tension in some areas of Melbourne. So I take your point. But have you got relo’s in any major UK cities?

    I think you’ll find it’s got worse there too, unfortunately.

  • Aviram December 18, 2009, 11:45 pm | Link

    I agree that any city has some areas that are prone to trouble, but a few of my relatives staying in Melbourne always maintain that the situation is much worse today then what it was a decade ago vis-a-vis drunk violence.

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