SA police head to Alice Springs for curfew back-up

Neve Brissenden |

A youth curfew imposed in Alice Springs following escalating violence is due to end on Wednesday.
A youth curfew imposed in Alice Springs following escalating violence is due to end on Wednesday.

Children caught out at night in Alice Springs could be dealt with by South Australian police after the Northern Territory government called in interstate reinforcements to manage an ongoing youth curfew.

Assistant Police Commissioner Martin Dole told reporters the extra police had been brought in to “gradually relieve” some of the NT police in Alice Springs.

He said several people from South Australia’s APY lands are stuck in Alice Springs due to recent wet weather.

“South Australian police offered to come and boost our resources so we can return some of our officers to Darwin and continue the heightened police presence in Alice Springs,” he said on Friday in Alice Springs.

“They’ll be working side by side with NT Police.”

The two-week youth curfew was imposed on March 27 when the NT government declared an emergency following escalating violence in the red centre.

Tensions in the desert town were inflamed by the death of an 18-year-old in a fatal car accident in early March.

Mr Dole said calm had been restored to Alice Springs and just three young people were removed from the CBD on Thursday evening – down from 25 on Sunday.

“I think you can see the feeling in the population of Alice Springs that are out for dinner, in the evenings out in the mall and enjoying the open spaces and the beautiful weather that we’ve got down here at the moment,” he said.

A police vehicle
NT police said only three young people were removed from the Alice Springs CBD on Thursday night. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS)

On Thursday NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler wrote to Meta accusing the tech giant of “encouraging and re­inforcing” youth crime across the territory.

She asked Meta Australia managing director William Easton to meet with her to discuss new “post and boast” legislation, which would criminalise the posting of illegal activity online.

“There is immense power that social media platforms have in encouraging and reinforcing this illegal behaviour in our streets,” she wrote.

“It is critical that criminal and anti-social behaviour are not amplified and given a platform on social media.

“Social media algorithms are poorly understood in the community but they can have powerful impacts on influencing what young people view and engage with.”

The youth curfew is due to end on Wednesday, and Ms Lawler would not be drawn on whether it might be extended.

“At this stage the curfew ends on Wednesday,” she said.

“It was something that was put in place to have an immediate effect, it was a pressure relief for the town.”

On Monday she flagged it may be extended to cover the entire school holiday period.

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