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Extra police to remain in Alice Springs after curfew

More police patrols and family service officers will be on the streets of Alice Springs after the violence-hit town emerges from its “successful” youth curfew experiment.

An additional 25 police officers and increased Territory Families staff will remain stationed in the town’s safety hub to allay fears that crime could once again flare up.

Children under 18 are prohibited from entering the Alice Springs CBD between 6pm and 6am under a curfew imposed on March 27 following a spate of “horrific” brawls that rattled the town.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said the increased policing measures would allow the public to “experience the positive things that the curfew brought in” once it is lifted on Tuesday morning.

“We want families to be able to come into the CBD,” she told reporters on Friday.

“To come to cafes, to come to restaurants in the CBD. That’s what people have told me they’ve enjoyed around the curfew. Being able to feel safe to be able to park their car and come in for dinner.”

The additional police officers will mainly be sourced from Darwin and will be be posted to the red centre until June.

Subsequently, a number of recently graduated constables will be deployed to Alice Springs as well as 18 frontline support officers, NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed 33 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors would be leaving their posts in Alice Springs and flying back to Darwin for training.

Ms Lawler said their places would be taken by sworn police officers, with all bottle shops in the town to remain covered.

A community safety hub will be set up in the town’s mall, staffed by traditional owners, auxiliary police, Territory Families staff and education truancy officers to provide further engagement.

“We need to make sure that if kids are in the CBD, there’s a reason for it,” Ms Lawler said.

“They should be there with a carer or family member and if they don’t, well, that’s when Territory Families will step in.”

Territory Families chief executive Emma White said staff had seen a pleasing response from families of young people they had engaged with during the curfew.

“We’re really committed to continuing the intensity that we’ve seen with extra staff here in Alice Springs,” she said.

“We’re also continuing our increased staff in our public housing safety officer team, which will continue post the curfew to engage with households and particular tenancies that might be struggling with visitors and other issues in their household.”

Ms Lawler said she would be “more than happy” to call a curfew again if needed in the future.

“What we saw on the Tuesday two weeks ago was abhorrent behaviour,” she said.

“There’s been a reluctance in the past to have a curfew. We’ve seen it be successful in Alice Springs.”


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