Carnarvon Shire seeks WA Government help to mitigate anti-social behaviour

By Bree Swift
March 11 2022 - 5:00am
Members of the local community gathered in Carnarvon last December to sign a petition created by local Nationals WA MP Vince Catania, calling on the State government to intervene to mitigate escalating crime and anti-social behaviour issues in the town.

THE Shire of Carnarvon will lobby the State government to support an intensive family and community intervention program to help mitigate escalating crime and anti-social behaviour that is crippling the town.

Shire of Carnarvon president Eddie Smith said the local government had worked with the community to develop the program, with the final strategy handed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan last week.

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Mr Smith said some of the key priorities identified in the program were at-risk youth, families in crisis and community safety and well being.

"We have identified those needs and are putting forward our recommendations to get the State government's support because, of course, it is going to cost some money to implement," Mr Smith said.

"Myself, our CEO and probably a member of the Indigenous community will be traveling to Perth to meet with the relevant ministers to garner their support for the program.

"Within our strategy we recognise it is critical that a taskforce of all government and non-government agencies assist with helping the community fix this problem."

The Carnarvon Police and Community Youth Centre (PCYC) was forced to close over the Christmas period due to its staff being subjected to violence and verbal abuse from the children and teenagers they were trying to help.

"We have to do something totally different to what has been done in the past," Mr Smith said.

"This isn't only a portion of the community that is being affected, it's the entire community and the children and youth that are involved are the future of this town, so we have to get this problem rectified."

The Nationals WA MP for North West Central Vince Catania launched a petition calling on the government to implement an inter-agency task force unit with representatives from all agencies, key stakeholders and the community to help address issues being faced by local residents last December.

He said the petition had already garnered more than 1100 signatures.

Mr Catania said in order to create the urgent changes needed, the town would require the State government's help with resources, processes and funding.

"Carnarvon seems to be forgotten by this government," Mr Catania said.

"Their focus is trying to deal with the crime in the Kimberley but they are not focussing on the escalating crime that is crippling our town."

Mr Catania said the lack of new social housing in Carnarvon was creating overcrowding and antisocial behaviour and had also contributed to the issue of children roaming the streets at night time.

"It's all very well to say that we should avoid putting kids in jail but if you have no programs to work with these youths and their parents, then it's a pointless exercise," Mr Catania said.

"The town needs respite, it has had enough."

Mr Catania said more police resources were needed to deal with the escalating level of crime, which was putting a huge amount of strain and stress on the local police force.

Responding to Farm Weekly's questions a Western Australian Police Force spokesperson said the number of staff at the Carnarvon Police Station could not be disclosed due to operational reasons.

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"There has been an increase of staff over the last two years to eight extra officers allocated to the station," the spokesperson said.

"Further, Mid West District Police often conduct operations in Carnarvon, involving additional district general duties officers, detectives and youth policing officers, targeting high harm offenders."

The spokesperson said a recent operation resulted in the arrest of six high harm offenders ranging from 14 to 18 years of age, charged with more than 40 offences.

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