Adelaide’s west end has today been named as the state’s first declared public precinct – giving police extra powers to manage anti-social and disorderly behaviour in the city.

The City West precinct – the area bordered by North Terrace, West Terrace, Currie Street and King William St, and including Hindley St – will come into effect from Friday night, giving police additional powers to deal with drunken, criminal or unsocial behaviour.

The declaration will apply from 6pm to 6am Friday and Saturday nights, with SA Police identifying a heightened risk to public safety and order during those times.

Latest crime statistics have shown more offences recorded on a Friday and Saturday night than the rest of the week combined.

The City West Declared Public Precinct will be operational from 6pm on Friday, 10 November 2017 until declared otherwise or until 6am on Sunday, 11 November 2018, whichever occurs sooner.

Changes last year to the Summary Offences (Declared Public Precincts) Amendment Bill 2016 allowed for the declaration of public precincts, giving police similar powers to those they already possess in a licensed venue.

A public area can be declared for a specified time, where there is a reasonable likelihood of conduct occurring that would pose a risk to public order and safety.

Background

The amended Bill was passed in October last year, after going for a period of public consultation in March 2016.

The changes will see SAPOL given the following powers in a declared public precinct:

  • Conduct a metal detector search of a person;
  • Ban a person between specified hours;
  • Direct a person to move on, similar to the current powers in the Act;
  • Provide an offence of “behave in a disorderly or offensive manner in a declared precinct’ with a penalty of $1250 or an expiation notice of $250;
  • Remove a child under the age of 18 years if the child is in the opinion of a police officer, in the declared public precinct in circumstances that place the child at risk.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General John Rau

This is about making sure everyone going into the city can enjoy a night out safely.

If you are out and about having dinner or a drink with friends and family, you should not have to put up with any person or people who are highly intoxicated; or have their anti-social behaviour impact adversely on your own good night out.

Police can now act swiftly and quickly to remove troublemakers from the area, which in most occasions will defuse situations before they escalate.

Everyone has the right to live in a safe and vibrant city, and we want people to have fun when they are visiting some of our great restaurants and bars without worrying they will be abused on the street or worse, face physical abuse.

It’s quite simple - if you don’t like the idea of being searched by police, or asked to move on, don’t be a menace on the streets.

Quotes attributable to Police Minister Chris Picton

This legislation is about ensuring community safety and that our Police Officers have sufficient powers to do their job effectively.

Now that the west end of the city has been declared a public precinct, the increased Police powers, increased penalties and ability for Police to remove minors from the area if at risk will have an immediate positive impact on safety – and it’s intended this impact will be lasting.

We want everyone to feel safe to enjoy themselves in the City and it’s crucial our Police – who are out there each night protecting the community – are given appropriate powers to do so.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Commissioner of Police Linda Williams

Since the Summary Offences (Declared Public Precincts) Amendment Act came into effect SA Police have taken a range of steps to ensure compliance with the legislation including training, establishing internal General Orders and associated documents and modifying online record keeping to ensure the capture of appropriate information.

This legislation will help ensure community safety and enjoyment in entertainment precincts while preventing street crime and antisocial behaviour.

The designated City West area will be a safe space for families and law abiding members of the community, but it will not be a welcoming space for drunken idiots and criminals.

SAPOL welcomes this legislation as it allows police to effectively manage inappropriate behaviour in real time without the need to be unduly tied up with arrest documentation or administrative burdens. We expect this to help police manage unruly and disorderly behaviour without adding an additional burden to the judicial system.