Granting magistrates power to ban problem boozers from buying takeaway alcohol “makes sense”, WA’s Racing and Gaming Minister says, as the State Government continues the rollout of a banned drinkers register. A soft rollout of the register, which implements ID scanners at point-of-sale for takeaway alcohol purchases to crack down on problem drinkers, started in the Kimberley in May. That BDR program has now been progressed to a hard rollout for two years and Scantek has been asked to build an app which is expected to be available to licensees in the Kimberley and Pilbara by October. The app is aimed at improving flexibility for licensees working in areas where a fixed scanner may not be practical, such as at drive through bottle shops. “The international interest for our technology is intense as it can be applied to such a wide cross-section of industries,” Scantek chief executive Ches Rafferty said. Speaking in Broome last Friday, Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby said more than 300,000 scans had been registered since the Kimberley trial began, with 18 instances of banned drinkers being caught out. Mr Whitby said the State Government was looking at ways to better use the register to target problem drinkers. “It makes sense to see people who emerge from court with a serious offence that is alcohol related, there is no reason why a magistrate could not add a condition as part of the punishment that someone goes on the list,” he said. “I hope to see this reflected in the amount of emergency admissions to hospitals, the amount of disturbance police have to attend — it will be interesting to measure that.” Mr Whitby said the high number of people in the Kimberley self-registering on to the list since the rollout began “shows ... people accept they have a problem and see this as something that can help them.” Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said the register would improve accountability. “This is something the community wants and it is something the industry wants, but it is like anything new ... people are a bit scared to start off with but it is just being scared of the unknown,” he said. “I don’t think there is any question it is a fantastic idea.” Liquor Stores Association of WA chief executive Peter Peck said early results in the Pilbara and Kimberley were proof the register was supported by the community. Matso’s general manager Carly Devine said customers and staff had become used to the scanners.