Police have reached out to community groups to address concerns that a disproportionate number of overseas visitors, particularly Irish backpackers, are involved in drunken anti-social behaviour in Perth entertainment precincts.
News of the police effort came after the president of a local Gaelic football club distributed an email that specifically raised concerns regarding the behaviour of Irish people.
The email, which has been reported by Irish media, said police were “appalled” and “extremely unhappy” with behaviour in the precincts, adding local Gaelic Athletic Associations could expect to be visited by police in coming weeks.
Insp. Paul Steel said there were reports Irish visitors were involved in a disproportionate number of offences, however, they were “only one nationality in a number associated with the backpacker scene where further targeted activities are planned to increase awareness of local liquor licensing and criminal laws”.
“It is clear that there are some significant differences in the policing of licensed premises in Australia to those in Ireland,” Insp. Steel said.
“In particular the liquor infringement and move on notices are not widely understood and the purpose of the community level engagement was to target education at an area where this crime prevention advice was deemed appropriate.”
Today, Gaelic Athletic Association (WA) president Robert O’Callaghan said the email had been distributed as a way of spreading the message among the community about the police concerns.
“A few bad eggs in any crowd could tarnish the reputation of everyone,” Mr O’Callaghan said. “I encourage and support the police initiative to tackle this social issue in the wider community.
“The Gaelic Football and Hurling Association of WA are a family organisation with a thriving junior academy that would not condone any anti-social behaviour by any member or individual.”
Business Improvement Group of Northbridge chairman Mike Keiller said the problem was not isolated to backpackers as there had been a rise in the number of overseas visitors who had travelled to Perth for work.
“I think it’s a process of education,” Mr Keiller said. “They are not used to the same restrictions and requirements we are required to adhere to to protect our licenses.
“They react with vigour sometimes but after a while they get the hang of it and you would like to think after they have been a permanent fixture for 12 to 18 months some of the ones here are educating the ones down the line
Mr Keiller said problems with overseas visitors were a “fairly typical tale” from Northbridge licensees. He said the problem was not isolated to Irish visitors but added: “They have proved to be more of a handful that your typical backpacker but with a bit of education and holding the line you are able to turn them around.”
Insp. Steel said community engagement was a method police used to reduce crime.