By KIERAN FINNANE
Following a public outcry the Alice Springs police station will stay open, 24/7.
This is something that people can rely on as the permanent status quo, says Acting Assistant Commissioner, Commander Danny Bacon who a week ago faced an angry public meeting over the issue (pictured during the meeting at right, with Assistant Commissioner Kate Vanderlaan).
“Everything continues to be reviewed, but people have spoken loud and clear. It is their belief that having on officer at the front counter 24/7 makes them feel safer. We respect that.”
As well as the public meeting, police met with local MLAs, community groups, individuals, government stakeholders involved with after-hours activities, members of their own team and listened to social media.
The original decision to close the station for 12 hours overnight was based on a workload analysis undertaken by staff last February-March.
The numbers coming to the police station were “not significant” and not a single attendance required “a critical incident response”, in other words during that time nobody ran into the police station seeking protection from immediate danger. People were attending for reasons like bail compliance and reporting lost wallets, says Commander Bacon.
In a media release just issued Commander Bacon also says: “We want to continue to work in collaboration with the community and this is an example of that commitment.
“Beating crime is a partnership between police and our community. We said we would listen and the message has come across loud and clear.”
Government MLAs in Central Australia have welcomed the decision.
Police were to be congratulated for listening to public feedback, say Member for Braitling Dale Wakelfield and her parliamentary colleagues, Member for Stuart Scott McConnell and Member for Namitjira Chansey Paech.
“This shows our Police are willing to work in partnership with the community of Alice Springs,” says Ms Wakelfield.
“I attended the recent public meeting called to discuss the possible front-counter closure and I was impressed by the way the community put their case against the closure of the counter after hours.
“Scott, Chansey and I have all been approached by people who were concerned about the possible closure of the front counter at night.
“Today’s announcement shows the benefit of public consultation and I congratulate the Northern Territory Police for their willingness to listen to community feedback.”
By KIERAN FINNANE