(24 April) A perception among some residents of increased crime and anti-social behaviour has prompted a call from a Northern Beaches Councillor for a ‘please explain’ from the local police.
Liberal councillor Rory Amon has lodged a Notice of Motion at this Tuesday’s council meeting urging it to invite senior officers to provide a confidential update on “increasing reports” of criminal activity.
While he praised the work of police in his motion — “Our local police are heroes. They do a tremendous job, operating on the thin blue line to keep us safe” — Cr Amon noted “heightened sensitivity around increased reports of anti-social and criminal behaviour in our community”.
“Residents, media, and social media reports have been indicating increased anti-social behaviour across the Northern Beaches in recent months,” his motion states.
“These reports range from graffiti, robberies, daylight assaults, domestic violence, alcohol induced trespasses, public urination, groups of young people intimidating and harassing members of the public unprovoked, and so on.
“In the circumstances, it is appropriate that Council asks the local Police if they would be prepared to attend a confidential Councillor briefing and provide a comprehensive update
about recent reports, and the facts and statistics which sit behind these reports.”
Head of the Northern Beaches Police Area Command, Pat Sharkey, provides regular briefings to the council through its Community Safety Committee, made up of councillors, council staff, state and federal MPs as well as representatives from government agencies and local community groups.
The minutes of the Committee’s February meeting record that Superintendent Sharkey advised that “crime statistics have been trending down across the board”
And is a statement to the Manly Daily Superintendent Sharkey said: “I want to assure the community that reported crime across the northern beaches is trending down in most categories.
“Northern Beaches Police Area Command has not seen a significant increase in reported youth crime, however, our officers remain focused on addressing any incidents that occur.
“This is why we initiated Operation Summer Safe – to proactively engage with the community, including our youth, and ensure we are putting our best foot forward in preventing crime.
“This, along with our ongoing partnership with PCYC NSW, and under the Commissioner’s RISEUP strategy, are key components of our approach to engage youth with the aim of preventing them becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.”
The call for the briefing comes as another Liberal councillor, Stuart Sprott, will lodge a Notice of Motion calling on the council to conduct a signage audit of the existing Alcohol Free Zones and Alcohol Prohibited Areas in council reserves.
Cr Sprott said an audit was needed after he had received numerous complaints from residents about public underage drinking leading to vandalism.
The chair of the recently established Neighbourhood Watch Belrose, Davidson & Frenchs Forest, Libby Paulsen, is also addressing Tuesday’s meeting about what she described as “the increase in youth anti-social behaviour in the area”.
“Part of the problem is that the signage for Alcohol Free Zones is well out of date. The signs were only valid between 2012 and 2016.”
Ms Paulsen said she would tell the council that teenagers were smoking cannabis, drinking in public, trashing children’s playgrounds and spraying graffiti.
“Enough is enough.”
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