'We have no power': Mandurah shopping centre security guard feels safer working nightclubs

Robert Peatling was assaulted on Saturday, on the job, after attempting to control a group of juveniles acting anti-socially at a Secret Harbour McDonald's. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Robert Peatling was assaulted on Saturday, on the job, after attempting to control a group of juveniles acting anti-socially at a Secret Harbour McDonald's. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

A Mandurah security guard has called for more powers and help from police saying the anti-social behaviour at shopping centres has gotten "out of control". 

Last week, the Mail reported on the Mandurah Forum previous manager Nigel Haines' push for shopping centres to "harden" their approach to anti-social behaviour and give security more power to detain an offender - even if that meant using handcuffs. 

Secret Harbour shopping centre security guard Robert Peatling was assaulted on Saturday, on the job, after attempting to control a group of juveniles acting anti-socially at McDonald's, about 11.30am.

We are defenseless when you have a group of 20 juveniles.

Secret Harbour shopping centre security guard Robert Peatling

Mr Peatling said one offender became aggressive.

"I called the police because I felt the situation had escalated," he said.

"He lunged forward and pushed me at force."

Mr Peatling said security guards faced a "major issue" dealing with drug addicts and shoplifters, but they couldn't do much about it.

We can only observe and report what's going on.

Secret Harbour shopping centre security guard Robert Peatling

"We have no power," he said. 

"Centre management said we can't touch anyone, or detain anyone.

"We can only observe and report what's going on.

"Because of that, all these teenagers, drug heads and aggressive people can run rampage. It's just out of control."

Mr Peatling said he felt safer working at Mandurah nightclubs and bars, where a higher percentage of assaults occur, then at shopping centres. 

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.

WA Police spokesman

"I would rather have a team who can back me up then be working with one other security guard," he said.

"We are defenseless when you have a group of 20 juveniles."

Mandurah Police Acting Senior Sergeant Phil Woods said security from Secret Harbour shopping centre had called police on Saturday. 

"Police did not attend as all persons had left the location and the security guard attended Mandurah Police Station," he said. 

Senior Sergeant Woods said no assault reports had been made to police.

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

"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."