POLICE have put the clamps on drug-dealing around the Glenferrie Rd nightclub precinct.
Boroondara Inspector Steve Noy said officers had arrested many drug-peddlers and were now also focusing on changing the attitudes of revellers.
Insp Noy said police were using sniffer dogs in nightclub queues and interconnected identification scanners which alerted clubs if people had been banned from other venues.
He said there was “significant responsibilities” on venue operators and police had widespread powers to issue warnings under current liquor licensing laws.
“It’s a balance between someone’s right to a good time, and to not be infringed on by people overstepping their mark, and 24/7 surveillance,” Insp Noy said.
At the same time, Hawthorn state Liberal MP John Pesutto has called on state Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz to investigate venues for drug distribution and use.
Mr Pesutto said the area had become a haven for drug crime, with two drug-related deaths — a 19-year-old woman in May last year and a 17-year-old boy in July this year — apparently linked to the club district.
“We know that earlier this year Victoria Police and ambulance paramedics attended one club when a number of patrons required urgent medical attention,” Mr Pesutto said.
“I also understand that Victoria Police closed one nightclub when four patrons were taken to hospital as a result of ingesting drugs.”
Mr Pesutto said he had received a host of complaints about nightclubs in the area particularly regarding the distribution and use of ecstasy and other related drugs.
He said a raid in August saw one person charged with possession and trafficking offences involving ecstasy.
Spokeswoman for Ms Kairouz, Miriam Phillips, said the State Government was increasing inspections at night clubs and bars in order to cut the scourge of drug use.
“Drug dealers will feel the full weight of the law as we work to reduce the supply, demand and harm of drugs that ruin lives,” she said.
“Liquor and gaming inspections dropped significantly under the previous Liberal Government, so we introduced inspection targets so that Victorians can enjoy a night out in a safe environment. In 2015-16 a record 14,347 inspections were carried out.”