'Harden up': Ex-Mandurah Forum manager calls for tougher approach to anti-social behaviour

The previous Mandurah Forum manager says shopping centres need to "harden" their approach to anti-social behaviour, even if that means using handcuffs to detain an offender.

Nigel Haines, who managed the Forum for 16 years before retiring in 2015, said offenders were being allowed to "run amok" without consequence. 

"This is not just the Mandurah Forum, it is everywhere," he said.

"They need to harden up and work with the security company, and allow security to do their job and keep the place safe.

We are talking about retailers livelihoods here.

Nigel Haines

"It means having to arrest people, like we used to, and as a last resort we'd use handcuffs."

Nowadays, Mr Haines said security officers were briefed to "observe and report".

"At the moment they are being able to run amok and know they can't get in trouble," he said. 

"If you are not going to detain someone, for the police to then prosecute them, then it's going to keep going."

Mr Haines said the offending affected local business.

"We are talking about retailers' livelihoods here," he said. 

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Handcuffs are legal for security officers to carry in Western Australia, however, the use of them may present legal risks if a person is detained without justification.

Security officers have no additional powers to arrest a person, meaning they are bound by the same laws as any other person conducting a 'citizen's arrest'.

A WA Police spokesman said Mandurah District Police had a good working relationship with security officers at shopping centres across the district.

...we would rather they call us in to deal with serious situations than expose themselves to unnecessary additional risk.

WA Police spokesman

"Security officers provide a visual deterrent for crime and anti-social behaviour and effectively deal with many situations that arise," he said. 

"Where a situation is clearly escalating we encourage security officers to request police assistance so police officers can attend and use their legal powers to resolve the situation.

"The role of a security officer is important and we would rather they call us in to deal with serious situations than expose themselves to unnecessary additional risk."

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association WA secretary Peter O'Keeffe said they were not opposed to the use of handcuffs. 

We continue to support our retailers and offer on-going training to help deter anti-social behaviour from occurring.

Mandurah Forum centre manager Jacqueline McKenzie

"Security guards should have at their disposal such measures as will be effective in combatting this behaviour, provided such measures comply with applicable laws," he said. 

Mandurah Forum centre manager Jacqueline McKenzie said the centre had a 24/7 security team supported by an extensive network of CCTV cameras.

"When it comes to detaining or arresting alleged offenders, that's a matter for police, who we continue to work alongside," she said. 

"We continue to support our retailers and offer ongoing training to help deter anti-social behaviour from occurring."

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