Friday, June 21, 2024

Secret police

Recent stories

The media releases from the police spin doctors are frequently short of salient information and phone calls from journalists to fill in the yawning gaps are not returned.

Law-and-order problems go right to the top, says Independent MLA for Araluen, Robyn Lambley, referring to the “backflipping on a monumental scale” about curfews by Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Chansey Paech.

Two examples from police reports this week, experienced by the Alice Springs News:

April 5 – Aggravated assault: “Between 3:20am and 3:45am a 27-year-old male was walking from Barrett Drive towards Tuncks Road. He was allegedly confronted by up to four males and assaulted, before the offenders stole items from his person.”

That area, part of the tourist precinct, is currently under curfew. If the assaulting males were under 18, as has frequently been the case for far too long, they were breaking the law by just being there.

And further, the politicians and police brass touting the curfew as being a success would be talking through their hats.

Has the victim, who fortunately was still able to make his way to the hospital, been asked by the cops for a description of the assailants? We don’t know. They certainly haven’t told us, which makes their request for information – mostly the purpose for media releases –less likely to yield anything useful.

April 4 – Liquor Licence Suspension: “Police have served a notice of suspension to a licensed premises on Gap Road in Alice Springs today. This decision follows a series of concerning incidents at the licensed premises over a number of days culminating in the requirement for Police to resolve four incidents on 3 April involving intoxicated individuals and behavioural offences stemming from excessive alcohol consumption.”

This is pretty bad stuff. No licence holder would be proud of it.

Yet police did not reveal which of the licensed premises they were talking about. There are four or five of them in Gap Road. From the police release it could have been any of them.

We made specific enquiries with the police media section but it did not provide the information.

We had to do a ring-around to find out it was the Gap View Hotel, which had to be closed on Thursday and yesterday, ordered by the police under Emergency Powers, according to the pub’s manager.

This withholding of information from the public is perpetrated by a police force 2.7 times bigger than the nation’s (per capita), that has just been supplemented by 60 officers from Darwin, now needing to be supplemented by a further 20 officers from South Australia, and is due to get an extra $200m over the next four years.

The absurd state of our law and order system doesn’t end there. Ms Lambley quotes Mr Paech as having said in Parliament:

“A youth curfew is madness. It will not have a positive impact on any young person. It is targeting the wrong people.” (September 17, 2019.)

“The Member for Araluen is playing a game at the moment about a youth curfew. Youth curfews do not work, let us put that to bed right now. They are punitive and send a negative message to our tourism industry.” (February 12, 2020.)

Now of course Mr Paech is toeing the new government and party line, rather than “demonising” curfews, as Ms Lambley puts it.

This article appeared on Alice Springs News on 6 April 2024.


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