Western Australians who organise parties that get out of control could be jailed and billed thousands of dollars for police costs.
Just in time for the silly season, the State Government has passed laws that give police greater powers to deal with out-of-control parties, a spate of which have made headlines in Perth this year.
The laws create the offence of organising an out-of-control gathering, with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $12,000.
A party will be deemed to be out of control if there are 12 or more people attending and at least two people are engaging in criminal conduct, disorderly behaviour, or behaviour that causes fear or alarm to neighbours.
Police have the power to order the immediate dispersal of offenders and can arrest anyone who fails to comply.
Police will also be able to charge offenders for some or all of their costs.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said one party in September took more than 80 police officers at a cost of more than $16,000 to break up.
Youths in a crowd of more than 500 threw bricks, rocks, bottles and poles at police.
The costs for that incident included $6500 for the police helicopter, $200 for the dogs and dog handlers and “a whole range of costs associated with the wages for the officers that were there“, Dr O’Callaghan told Fairfax Radio.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said: “The community is sick to death of this sort of unruly, criminal behaviour, and the Government supports police taking a robust stance when dealing with troublemakers.”