Police to focus on safe city

Police to focus on safe city

A STRATEGY meeting was held in Port Lincoln on Wednesday to discuss growing concerns about anti-social behaviour in the community.

Acting officer in charge for Port Lincoln police Mark Hubbard said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the weekend's incident at a local fast food restaurant - where four youths were charged with aggravated assault, property damage and violent disorder - and build on what local services were already doing in the community.

In the days since the incident concerned community members have organised a 'Walk Against Crime and Violence' to voice their frustrations and call for solutions.

Port Lincoln City Council mayor Brad Flaherty said while the organisers' calls for more police foot patrols and community engagement were police matters, the council would support police efforts to ensure the issue received "the coordinated approach we need".

He said there was no need for finger pointing except for at the people who committed the offence.

"Put the blame where the blame belongs and that's on the people who did it - not the police and not the council," Mr Flaherty said.

Inspector Hubbard said the strategy meeting would look more broadly at what could be done to improve public safety.

He said while it was important to embrace new ways to tackle the problem and identify longer term solutions, the community could expect increased foot patrols, particularly around the foreshore and shopping precinct.

"We are aware of the concern in the community and that was definitely part of the impetus of the meeting," Inspector Hubbard said.

"In my view the crime is a symptom and it is vitally important we do everything we can as a community to divert these children away from the juvenile justice system. Prevention is better than a cure."

West Coast Youth and Community Support (WCYCS) chief executive officer Jo Clark said the weekend incident highlighted a wider issue that needed input from young people and government and non-government organisations.

"We need a whole community approach to support our young people," Ms Clark said.

She said WCYCS was consulting with young people on an ad-hoc basis and during its programs and had plans to talk with the Youth Advisory Committee.

"I am concerned for our community and I'm concerned for the young people within it," she said.

"I know the community is frustrated, but to make real change takes time."

Ms Clark said the Port Lincoln Leadership and Services Reform group had also been working hard to develop and deliver a support program for young and vulnerable people and their families, which would launch in about four weeks.