Restrictions in pub closing times and lockouts in Newcastle, Australia five years on


  • Kypros Kypri, PhD, Professor, Patrick McElduff, PhD, Associate Professor, Peter Miller, PhD, Associate Professor.


Introduction and Aims.

In 2008 pub closing times were restricted from 5am to 3:30am in the central business district (CBD) of Newcastle, Australia. A previous study showed a one-third reduction in assaults in the 18 months following the restriction. We assessed whether the assault rate remained lower over the following 3.5 years and whether the introduction of a ‘lockout’ in nearby Hamilton was associated with a reduction in assaults there.

Design and Methods.

We used a pre-post design with comparison against two post-change periods. The setting was Greater Newcastle (population 530 000) and subjects were persons apprehended for assault in the CBD and nearby Hamilton, an area with late trading pubs where a lockout and other strategies were implemented in 2010. Cases were police-recorded assault apprehensions occurring from 10pm to 6am in one pre-change period: January 2001 to March 2008, and two post-change periods: (i) April 2008 to September 2009 and (ii) October 2009 to March 2013. Negative binomial regression with terms for secular trend and seasonal effects was used to estimate Post1: Pre and Post2: Pre Incidence Rate Ratios and confidence intervals.


In the CBD recorded assaults fell from 99/quarter before the restriction to 68/quarter in the first post-change period [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55–0.82] and 71/quarter (IRR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.55-0.85) in the later post-change period. In the same periods in Hamilton, assault rates were 23, 24, and 22 per quarter respectively.

Discussion and Conclusions.

The restriction in closing time was associated with a sustained lower assault rate in the Newcastle CBD. We find no evidence that lockouts and other outlet management strategies were effective in Hamilton. [Kypri K, McElduff P, Miller P. Restrictions in pub closing times and lockouts in Newcastle Australia 5 years on. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:323–326]