Decision on curfew extension revealed

The Northern Territory Police Commissioner has activated a snap 72 hour curfew between the hours of 10pm-6am, after what was described as a “horror” weekend in Alice Springs for both police and residents. Picture: Grenville Turner
The Northern Territory Police Commissioner announced the curfew would not be extended. Picture: Grenville Turner

The Northern Territory’s police minister has announced the curfew in Alice Springs will not be extended.

The curfew, which was declared on Monday, barred adults and children from entering the town centre from 10pm to 6am each night, unless they have a valid reason to be there.

The curfew expired at 6am on Thursday.

Curfews may be extended for a further seven days if the police minister approves.

At midday, Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said he was “not requesting an extension”.

The Northern Territory Police Commissioner has activated a snap 72 hour curfew between the hours of 10pm-6am, after what was described as a “horror” weekend in Alice Springs for both police and residents. Picture: Grenville Turner
The Northern Territory Police Commissioner announced the curfew would not be extended. Picture: Grenville Turner

There have been no arrests made in relation to the latest curfew.

“There is currently no reasonable grounds for me to extend the declaration and I am confident we have capable police resourcing in Alice Springs to react and respond to any instances of crime or anti-social behaviour,” he said.

Policing operations will remain in place across Alice Springs to uphold the law and maintain social order, he said.

Operation Grimmel will continue to run within the town, and an additional 10 officers started duty in Alice Springs on Wednesday with an additional 19 due to start in two weeks with another 15 to be posted to the town at the end of the month, he said.

“The PDD is not a long-term solution, and I am mindful of the impact that decision has had on the broader community,” he said.

“As Commissioner of Police I have a responsibility to listen to the community, to make sure that the best decisions are made to uphold the law and to maintain social order.

“The PDD has assisted in the short term by providing relief to the frontline, but our focus remains on the long term.

He said police will continue to work collectively with government stakeholders, community members, and local service agencies to find long term solutions to the issues currently facing Alice Springs.

Police arrived at the scene after a brawl allegedly broke out in Alice Springs about 1.30pm on Wednesday. multiple arrests were made. Picture:Facebook/ActionforAlice2020
Police arrived at the scene after a brawl allegedly broke out in Alice Springs about 1.30pm on Wednesday. multiple arrests were made. Picture:Facebook/ActionforAlice2020

During the curfew, police engaged with 159 people, with 93 directed to leave the area, 20 conveyed into the care of other agencies and 18 removed from the area by police.

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson previously said the curfews were a “reaction to events over the past week or so” and not a long-term solution.

“We can’t continue to put these in,” he told the ABC.

“Let’s be quite frank here - this is 30 years of policy on the run that’s got Alice Springs and Central Australia to where we are and it’s decisions driven out of Canberra and Darwin with people without their finger on the pulse of what happens in Central Australia, without realising unintended consequence.”

Mr Paterson also questioned why the Northern Territory was the only jurisdiction without a youth foyer, which allows at-risk teens and young adults between 16 to 24 access to longterm housing, with education, employment and skills support.

“I can’t believe that we don’t have one. The stats are so successful in other parts of the country,” he said.

“I think that they’re talking about long-term solutions - the youth foyer is something that should be implemented in Alice Springs.”