People try to come in to the pub under aged, to steal things, people trying to buy alcohol for intoxicated people and we get a few fights but not as much as you would think for the middle of Northbridge. I think it’s pretty tame compared to what the news would like to see. I mean, I’ve been working here for just over five years and I’ve never had any serious situations on the streets.
Serving someone can be hard, so I try and work out their behaviour. Someone can come in and seem intoxicated. A person might have one beer, sit there and mind their own business before they leave, no problem. Some people can have one beer and become totally stupid, annoy people and you can pick the people who are out to get drunk. They get involved in other people’s conversations and really harass them.
We get a bit of problem with the younger Aboriginals. A lot of them will hang around on the corner of the pub and near the Art Centre. From my point of view, I wouldn’t walk through there, it’s just not worth it, even though I know nothing would probably happen. They get a bit of leniency but they need to realise that at 2 am in the morning, there’s nothing for them here.
The police only ever get involved if something happens, we’ll write an incident report and if it gets followed up, they’ll come down and get video footage. We have called them on a couple of occasions when we’ve got someone out of control. Once you’ve actually got someone and you’re holding them under control, you can’t really let go of them because they’ll just started kicking. You just have to get the police to come down and remove them. The laws are so strict, you really have to be careful what you do to people.
There was an incident here last week and the police were walking around and doing a random inspection. We had a guy stealing glasses and I asked them if they could remove this guy and give him a bit of a warning but they said “I’m sure you can handle it” and just kept walking. So I went and chased the dude and got the glasses back. There was three officers and I’m sure one of them could have warned him. They’ll look past things that really do need looking at and then they’ll bust some 80 year old for jaywalking on the street. They do a good job but I think they have their priorities wrong.
The safety in Northbridge depends on what time you’re here and what you’re doing. If you’re here in Northbridge for a meal at your normal dinner time, you park your car, go to the restaurant and then go back to your car, I don’t really see there being a problem at all. Unless you stand around and hang out on the corner at 2am in the morning waiting for a taxi, you’ll get pin pointed. Follow the general direction of the crowd, don’t walk off into alleyways, stand in a lit street and look where you’re going. It’s all just common sense.
The violence can happen anywhere at anytime and you can’t police it all. I think it’s good how they’ve made the train station a bit more secure. The cut off for the pubs is 2 am and the clubs is about 4, 5, 6 am in the morning and I think the police need to be aware at what time the pubs and clubs close. They should be there to just make sure everyone moves on. They need some sort of law enforcement or someone giving people a bit of guidance instead of people hanging around causing trouble.
If we have more police, then people like me driving home from work will get pulled over for no reason but I think they need to prioritise their times and areas. People need to be moved on. Standing in the one spot for five or ten minutes is okay but if you’ve got 20 people standing on the corner, little kids, it’s obvious they’re looking for trouble. The Northbridge curfew was getting pretty good but now the notices are just going to the drunk, loud people who are on their way to the pub and not the kids hanging around on the streets.
I think Northbridge is better with the security guards, it’s a lot stricter for them. I remember a long time ago you used to go somewhere and if there was a problem there with the owner of security, you’d be in trouble. They’d take you out the back and there were no laws. You’d get hit and it was hush hush. Now if something happens, then it’s reported and it’s a lot harder for anyone with a criminal record to be in security now.
As for the Northbridge Curfew, putting myself in the police position, I would probably get sick of writing out 1000 notices a night to all those kids. Most of the time if you have to take them home, their parents would probably be abusive. It’s a hard situation but you’ve got to make the kids realise there’s nothing out here in Northbridge for them.
Maybe they should start something in Northbridge at night where all the young people can go, like a huge recreation centre with basketball games and Elders to guide them because there’s nothing like it out here. If they’re going to be here all night, they may as well be doing something fun. I think a lot of them are lost, they’re coming out. I see little kids following their families out probably because that’s all there is to do.