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HomeVolume 29Good-bye to bottle shop cops?

Good-bye to bottle shop cops?

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Bottle shop cops may be replaced by unarmed officers from another department while the Mayor, an ardent supporter of the Point of Sale Intervention (POSI) provided by the police, declines to comment.

He will also not discuss his claims that the recent curfew was a success.

A current trial involves the deployment of Licensing Inspectors alongside existing police officers to conduct POSI duties at selected takeaway licensed premises in Alice Springs.

Police Superintendent Drew Slape said in a media release yesterday: “We acknowledge that police presence will always reduce anti-social behaviour in public locations, however we must balance this alongside the best use of police resources.”

Mayor Matt Paterson told the ABC on April 9 that POSIs “provide a dramatic impact in Alice Springs following the carnage after stronger futures lapsed.

“The police auxiliaries officers on bottle shops prevent that. Without them we see a dramatic increase of alcohol.”

Mayor Paterson would not respond to a request from the Alice Springs News to disclose on what his assertion is based.

In fact the Mayor, via a spokesman, provided a blanket “no comment” to other questions as well and would not comment on crime figures during and after the curfew.

He claims it had a “positive impact”, despite seven criminal offences (all alleged) involving numerous offenders during the 21 days the measure was in place. This does not include any offences not reported by the police in its media statements.

• Aggravated robbery by an intruder entering the bedroom of the 66-year-old female resident.

Aggravated burglary by three who smashed their way through the front door of an East Side residence with an axe.

• A female was hit on the head multiple times with a baton and then punched in the face. The victim retreated into a bedroom while the offenders ransacked the residence for about 20 minutes before leaving the home with two sets of vehicle keys. The offenders returned to the residence a short time later and demanded the residents leave the bedroom before smashing in the door with the axe and stealing jewellery, a laptop and a quantity of cash.

Arrests – Stealing with violence the CBD. Multiple reports of a group of youths causing a disturbance at Alice Plaza and Yeperenye Shopping Centre.

Attempted burglary three male youths in relation to an attempted burglary with a weapon … three youths attempting to gain entry to a property. One of the youths allegedly threatened a resident with a knife.

Aggravated assault. A 27-year-old male was walking from Barrett Drive towards Tuncks Road. He was confronted by up to four males and assaulted, before the offenders stole items from his person. The victim sought treatment at the hospital for facial injuries and bruising.

Burglary. Multiple offenders in a camping store. Up to eight offenders stole a large quantity of hunting equipment and cash.

Aggravated burglary by three youths overnight entering a residence, armed with various weapons. One of the offenders threatened one of the residents with a firearm before the group stole the keys to two vehicles and fled the scene.

Here is what happened – allegedly – since the end of the curfew, with the increased police numbers still in place:

May 2: Male broke into a residence and threatened the 68-year-old female occupant before stealing an unknown amount of property.

April 29: Attempted burglary by three youths and criminal damage at Amoonguna school. A vehicle at the location was also extensively damaged.

April 23:  16-year-old youth commit burglary  after males had unlawfully entered a residence.

April 22: Multiple burglaries and stolen vehicles Police Airwing hangar.  Both vehicles are believed to have been stolen earlier in Gillen. Pursuit. The three male occupants, aged 17, 19 and 21, were arrested at the scene. A previously reported stolen silver Toyota Hilux into a civilian vehicle, causing damage to the vehicle and minor injuries to its 46-year-old female driver. Police pursued as the Hilux fled the scene and was sighted driving at high speeds along Ilparpa Road. Pursuit was terminated after losing sight of the vehicle on a dirt road.

April 19: Aggravated robbery occurred in Araluen. 35-year-old male assaulted with an edged weapon and subsequently robbed. The victim suffered injuries to his head, face, arms and lower body, and was conveyed to hospital.

April 18: Altercation on Erumba Street, Brailting involving three females who are known to each other. A 25-year-old female suffered serious injuries to her hand and lacerations to her head, and was taken to hospital. Two females aged 17 and 21, were arrested at the scene.

The News asked the Mayor whether his public statements were based on surveys, and if so, could we have a copy of the results. If not, what were they based on?

“A whole lot of anxiety disappeared. People go out to the CBD to restaurants.”

The Mayor also stated that the Banned Drinkers Register needs to be reformed but gave no indication whether the nine elected council members had formulated guidelines for such a reform.

Meanwhile the council decided by majority vote to commission a by-election for the replacement of Councillor Steve Brown who has resigned.

The election will be held by the NT Electoral Commission at a cost expected to be in excess of $150,000.

The 2022 by-election, in which Gavin Morris was the successful candidate, cost $151,381 but the commission’s fees have gone up recently.

Mayor Paterson and Cr Mark Coffey voted in favour of the alternative way of finding a successor for Cr Brown, which is cost-free to the ratepayer: Appointment by the councillors from nominations received.

2 COMMENTS

  1. One Mayor and one Councillor with a common-sense approach. Why would we foot the bill to fill one position for a relatively short time? We could use more parks and things for young people to do than a $150K invoice for something the Council is positioned to provide.
    Shame on the seven, passing the buck to stand up and be the leaders they were voted in to be.

  2. I’d be interested to know the arguments the other Councillors presented in favour of going to a by-election. That money could be better spent on developing more community facilities (e.g. parks, playgrounds, etc.)
    The 2024-25 ASTC budget will be presented next week. How much extra will we get to pay in rates to cover the costs of this needless event?

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