VIDEO: The new 'force' hitting the streets of Ipswich

IF YOU see a tall man in a white van while out on the town this weekend, don't scream 'stranger danger'.

A new service is being launched in Ipswich tonight to coincide with changes to liquor licencing which will see alcohol service stop at 2am across the state.

That is except in 'Safe Night Out' precincts, including Ipswich City, where party goers can still get a drink until 3am.

But in an effort to curb alcohol related incidents, the 'Rest and Recovery' program -- already well-established in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast -- has been expanded to Ipswich.

From 11.30pm tonight, Drug ARM Outreach Coordinator Graham Hembrow will be driving around in the organisation's van offering water, coffee, small snacks, support and where needed a way home.

His job is to ensure any stragglers get home safe.  

Launch of the new Safe Night Precinct in Top of Town. Pictured is Graham Hembrow from Drug Arm, Mayor Paul Pisasale, Jennifer Howad MP and Dennis Young from Drug Arm.
Launch of the new Safe Night Precinct in Top of Town. Pictured is Graham Hembrow from Drug Arm, Mayor Paul Pisasale, Jennifer Howad MP and Dennis Young from Drug Arm. Inga Williams

"It could be that we see a person who is in distress and a little bit intoxicated. We make sure they're OK and if they need medical attention we can help with that too," Mr Hembrow said.

He says sometimes just providing a distraction can deescalate a potentially dangerous situation.

The new initiative has been funded by $177,704 from the Queensland Government which has committed more than $7 million over three years towards support services in Safe Night Out precincts.

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said the local Safe Night Precinct Board, funded by $50,000 towards administration, would help drive "local solution to potential harms" in our area.

What's changed?

  • Trading hours have been scaled back from 5am to 3am, in some areas, and 2am across the state.
  • Shots are banned after midnight
  • Any new bottle shops applying for licences will have to shut at 10pm
  • Venues can stay open after 3am, but no alcohol will be served
  • There will be no "lockout" between July 1 and February 1, 2017
  • From February 1, 2017 there will be a 1am lockout

*Casinos, airports and industrial canteens are exempt from changes to trading hours

>>JULY 1: What's changed and what you need to know



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