Pubdate: Thu, 14 Sep 2000
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 The Toronto Star
Contact:  One Yonge St., Toronto ON, M5E 1E6
Fax: (416) 869-4322
Author: Roberta Avery, Special to The Star


Rowdy behaviour at bars a problem, association says

OWEN SOUND -- Ontario police chiefs are calling for tougher enforcement of
the province's liquor laws.

"We have some real concerns about what is happening," said Bruce Davis,
president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, which met in Owen
Sound this week.

There is a growing number of instances across the province of underage
drinking, overcrowded bars and rowdy late-night revelers disturbing
neighbourhoods after the bars close, Davis said.

For instance, Owen Sound has been plagued for years by street fights after
the two bars in the downtown core close for the night.

A recent application for a third bar/restaurant in the area was met with a
flood of protest from residents.

The chiefs are endorsing a request from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to
the province for more power to ensure compliance with existing liquor laws,
he added.

While the majority of licensed businesses are legitimate, some are fronts
for organized crime, so the chiefs are calling for liquor licence
applications to receive scrutiny similar to casino applicants, said Chief
Tom Kaye of the Owen Sound Police Service, one of 24 chiefs at the

"We would like to see background checks on all the owners, not just a front
person," said Kaye.

Bar, hotel and restaurant owners should face immediate licence suspensions
and the freezing of their assets for liquor law breaches, he added.

Whether it's two bars or 2,000, the issues are the same, said Toronto police
Chief Julian Fantino.

"We're impacted in the same way; we just deal with a different volume," said

Kaye would like to see police have the power to order the staggering of
closing hours, so hundreds of people don't hit the street at the same time.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has members from 70 police
services, including municipal forces and detachments of the OPP and RCMP.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Don Beck