Anti-social behaviour summit: Mandurah mayor 'confident' state government will deliver on a plan to address local crime

Former Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart and Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.
Former Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart and Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

City of Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams says he is confident the state government will take immediate action to help address anti-social behaviour in the city centre after hosting a City Safety Leadership Meeting on Wednesday night.

City of Mandurah councillors approved the summit at a council meeting on June 25 to host the relevant agencies, businesses and government leaders to develop a collaborative action plan to tackle violence.

The decision came after a number of serious and high-profile incidents in June, including the mugging of a 13-year-old boy, who was allegedly bashed and had his watch stolen, and the assault of a 71-year-old man setting up his fresh produce stall on Smart Street mall.

Mr Williams, who raised the notice of motion to host the summit, said anti-social behaviour was "counteracting the vibe" the City of Mandurah was trying to create.

"Mandurah is such an important part of Western Australia and really is a jewel in the crown for this state," he said.

"All of the big investment in economic diversification and growing tourism, becoming a cultural city with events and artistic opportunities - it is all undermined by this constant headache we have in relation to crime, particularly in the city centre.

"Crime in the city centre is different because it has such a huge impact on the businesses and the reputation of the place.

"I do not want our reputation as a city, both by the people that live here and tourists, to be defined by these issues."

Mr Williams raised six key points of action at the summit that the City of Mandurah sought support from the state government on.

  1. WA Police Force Mental Health Co-Response in Mandurah as a priority.
  2. A commitment to a trial of aggressive outreach services to those who are the hardest to assist.
  3. Proactive patrolling by police in the city centre during the day and night for an extended period.
  4. A commitment to seek Prohibitive Behaviour Order or Misconduct Restraining Order for individuals who are committing crimes or displaying serious anti-social behaviour on a regular basis, banning them from the area.
  5. Improved connection between police and city security.
  6. Increased access to drug treatment services.

Mr Williams said it was important for key stakeholders to work together on positive, realistic initiatives.

"There will always be crime in any community but I'm really proud that we are working across all levels of government and that we are all doing our bit," he said.

"It's not going to stop crime from happening altogether but it is going to make sure that, in terms of our targeted priorities of the city centre, we're putting practical solutions on the table to solve the problems."

Mandurah MP David Templeman said he would continue working hard to ensure the heart of Mandurah kept its status as a "family friendly destination".

"Underpinning all of that is safety, so we want to make sure that we get off on the front foot and address any issues that exist now," he said.

"A collaborative response to crime is required and there is a responsibility for state and local government, businesses and individuals to tackle crime.

"I am committed to exploring a range of possible outcomes which were brought forward on Wednesday night.

"Of course, I ultimately want to ensure that people realise Mandurah is a beautiful place to live and we want to keep it that way."

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Mental Health Co-Response Team

The Mental Health Co-Response Team pairs a mental health professional with a police officer to respond to crimes together that are expected to be mental health related.

The team work collaboratively from the moment the call is made through the arrest and until possible court proceedings come to a close.

The service is currently being trialled in Cockburn and has shown promising results.

The City of Mandurah called for a dedicated service be rolled out in Mandurah.

Mr Williams said he was "confident" the state government will deliver on the request.

"It's a really good model, it's working and there's no reason why it shouldn't be happening here in Mandurah, so it was one of our major pitches to seek that here," he said.

"We've now got to go and do some work to see what that might look like, but there was a strong indication that would be something that we would likely see rolled out in Mandurah.

"I was really optimistic based on the response from the (Police) Minister (Michelle Roberts) that it will be something we see - I'm very confident from (the meeting) that it will be something that happens."

Outreach Services

The outreach services would be run by a team of experienced professionals in the city centre, who respond to and build relationships with people who are having mental health difficulties, sleeping rough or affected by substance abuse.

Mr Williams said while there had been no commitment from the state government on the issue, he expected them to come to the table with a plan.

"This is about intervening before it escalates to the point of crime," he said.

"The team would operate day and night, at the most appropriate hours.

"We are seeking a two-year trial and I'm very confident in that - I feel like that will be what we will start working on immediately."

Proactive Police Patrolling

Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch committed to an extended period of proactive police patrolling in the city centre.

Mr Williams labelled the commitment as "a big win".

"The commitment was made that we will have an ongoing operation in the city centre around police patrolling and an increase in police presence in the city centre," he said.

"The key for us was that there will be additional resources to do that because we didn't want to see an officer taken from somewhere else and put in the city centre to allow for problems elsewhere.

"They will only be there in peak periods over the summer period and beyond.

"We don't have a number on what those additional resources are and we won't likely have those details for some time, but the commitment has been made and we'll be following up with WA Police to understand more about the logistics with that."

Prohibited Behaviour Orders

The City of Mandurah requested a commitment to seek Prohibited Behaviour Order or Misconduct Restraining Order for individuals who are committing crimes or displaying serious anti-social behaviour on a regular basis.

The court-ordered ban would stop repeat offenders from entering a specific geographical area for a sustained period of time.

Mr Williams said it was something the City would like to see implemented after the outreach services were in place.

"We want to see that lever used in more cases where it is absolutely necessary," he said.

"We're here to help... but if you behave badly in our city centre on repeat incidence and are causing absolute carnage for business owners, we want police not to hesitate to remove these people."

Improved connection between police and security and increased drug treatment service access

The City of Mandurah requested better connections between local police and City Security, as well as additional resources for local drug treatment service providers.

Mr Williams said vital organisations were "already stretched" for resources.

"I really believe in a holistic approach to this - we're not going to tackle city centre crime by just focusing on policing," he said.

"We need to focus on policing, mental health, substance abuse and then the activation and events as a proactive response.

"The government was really open to working with us on that, so we will follow that up."

What do you think about crime in Mandurah's city centre and the local government's action plan to address anti-social behaviour? Send a letter to our team via editor@mandurahmail.com.au.