19th March 2016
A proposal to treat Adelaide’s entertainment strips as licensed venues and give police the power to conduct metal detector searches has been backed by civil libertarians.
- Crowd control measures proposed for Adelaide streets
- Unruly people to be banned or fined
- Unsupervised children to be removed
An amendment Bill proposed by the South Australian Government would target areas like Hindley Street in the city’s red-light district during specified times, such as Friday and Saturday nights, and Gougar Street in Chinatown during events like the Chinese New Year.
If successful, it would enable police to remove children under the age of 16 if unsupervised or considered at risk, ban people during specified hours, direct people to move on, and give on-the-spot fines to people behaving in a “disorderly or offensive manner in a declared precinct”.
SA Council for Civil Liberties chairperson Claire O’Connor said the council supported the amendments.
“In our community, families and law abiding people shouldn’t be prevented from attending events because of the unruly behaviour of a few,” she said.
“Enabling the police to remove those behaving unruly either by ordering them to leave or immediately fining, as long as not abused and being able to be reviewed by a court if a person decides to contest, are enough protections.”
She said parents should not allow children “of a tender age” to be at large at night.
“We know from the work we do for such children how others can prey on and mislead these young people,” Ms O’Connor said.
Attorney-General John Rau said police had limitations because they often had to arrest a person to remove them from an area.
“Or their powers are limited to licensed premises and cannot be used in surrounding laneways or other public places,” he said.
“We know that in some areas on a Friday or Saturday night, the combination of alcohol, large groups of people and licensed venues, can create situations that might escalate into violence.”
Mr Rau said the Government would consult with government agencies “and other interested parties and will consider all feedback received on the draft bill”.