Alan Carpenter

Alan Carpenter

Premier; Minister for Federal-State Relations; Trade; Innovation; Science; Public Sector Management

    Northbridge curfew achieves reduction in juvenile anti-social behaviour

    10/12/2006 10:18 AM
     
    10/12/06

    The State Government’s Northbridge curfew has cut the number of unsupervised juveniles roaming the area at night by 35 per cent and reduced the level of anti-social behaviour by juveniles since its introduction three years ago.

    Premier Alan Carpenter today released the ‘Report on the Young People in Northbridge Policy - The Policy Three Years On’ and said the initiative had also led to better results for at-risk young people, through improvements in the way they were case-managed.

    Mr Carpenter said the operational review by the Office of Crime Prevention (OCP) had involved consultation with Government and non-Government agencies which provided front-line services to young people, as well as Northbridge residents, business owners and patrons.

    The review revealed:
    • WA Police Juvenile Aid Group (JAG) figures showed 634 contacts with unsupervised juveniles in 2005-06, down from 971 in 2003-04;
    • a 48.5 per cent reduction in the number of young people apprehended or charged by the JAG, down from 99 in 2003 to 51 in 2006;
    • there was improved community confidence and support for continuation of the policy; and
    • there was improved agency and organisational operations.
    “The Northbridge Policy is all about community safety and is part of the State Government’s long-term strategy to enhance the whole of the Northbridge area,” the Premier said.

    “We are committed to protecting unsupervised children found roaming the area at night, many of whom are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and in physical or moral danger.

    “We are also committed to ensuring that adults can enjoy an evening out in Northbridge without being harassed by groups of juveniles engaging in anti-social behaviour.”

    Mr Carpenter said the Northbridge Policy used powers under Section 41 of the Children and Community Services Act 2006. The Act allowed police officers or other authorised persons to move unsupervised children to a safe place if the children’s well-being was at risk, including the nature of the place where they were found.

    The Northbridge Policy is focused on unsupervised children aged under 12 in the Northbridge precinct during the hours of darkness and unsupervised young people aged 13 to 15 years in the Northbridge precinct after 10pm.

    Mr Carpenter said it was totally inappropriate to have children under 12 left to their own devices in what was an adult entertainment precinct.

    The strategy is supported by the operations of the JAG, Department for Community Development, Public Transport Authority (PTA), Crisis Care, Killara Services, Mission Australia’s On-track program and the Noongar Patrol.

    It involves street patrols by police, outreach workers, Noongar Patrol officers and PTA officers engaging unsupervised young people and directing them home. It also involves taking vulnerable young people to the JAG facility and providing appropriate support and transport to safe places and safe people. Agencies also collaborate with follow-up case management and weekly operational debriefs.

    The Premier said the OCP review also found:
    • a continuing decline in the level of repeat contacts with the same unsupervised juveniles;
    • that the majority of young people dealt with by the JAG team were Aboriginal females aged between 13 and 15; and
    • the number of young people found to be carrying weapons decreased significantly between 2005 and 2006.
    Mr Carpenter said the OCP report made several recommendations, which would be considered by relevant agencies. They included:
    • extending the geographical boundary for implementation of the Northbridge Policy;
    • WA Police and PTA extending or modifying operations to take account of the growing trend for unsupervised young people to travel into Northbridge on a Wednesday night; and
    • developing a training/education strategy for relevant Government and non-Government workers, businesses and schools about the Northbridge Policy.

    “The Government’s view is that the Northbridge Policy and the processes that underpin it must be dynamic, responsive to changes in the environment and reflect best practice principles in dealing with unsupervised young people roaming the Northbridge streets at night,” the Premier said.

    The report is available on the OCP’s website at http://www.crimeprevention.wa.gov.au

    Premier's office - 9222 9475