The aim of the following report, is to explore the “Northbridge Curfew” examine its value and criticisms’. Finally to recommend whether the policy should be expanded to areas other than Northbridge.
2.0 Purpose of the policy
‘This Policy is the Government’s response to the immediate problem of ‘at risk’ children and young people in Northbridge at night.’ (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg2) It is part of the states commitment to; “Revitalise Northbridge”, “ensure the safety and security of children and young people.” Finally “to address the issue of young people who behave in a disorderly manner.” (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg3). The policy is not as Koch suggests a ban on “unsupervised youths up to the age of 18 years from the inner city entertainment area”. (Koch, 2003, pg7) However it contains a curfew on the metropolitan area commonly known as Northbridge described by the policy as the “adult entertainment district”. (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg1) It is imposed upon “children 12 years of age and under, in the Northbridge precinct during the hours of darkness.” And “Young people 13 to 15 years of age in the Northbridge precinct after 10.00 pm.” (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg2) The policy goes on to include young people up to the age of 18, “who by their anti social, offending or health compromising behaviour are at risk to themselves or others.” (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg3)
2.1 Critiscisim of its purpose
Critics suggest the reason for the policy is the “current popularity curfew laws (Adams, 2003, pg3 )” to appease “the desire by local traders to attract more patrons to their establishments”. Furthermore to “assist the Government’s agenda as champion of the law and order debate to target young Aborigines” (Kock, 2003, pg7). If the policy is a response to crime, kock cites research to argue, “70 percent of crime in the curfew area as being perpetrated by adults.” (Kock, 2003, pg7 ) Like legislation it could be argued most of the welfare aspects of the policy were “in place prior to the introduction of the Northbridge project”, (Young People in Northbridge Project, 2011, pg10) and that the only change for stakeholders is their focus.
3.0 Legitimacy and powers of the policy.
Kock, questions the legitimacy of the policy, depriving children of their liberty, citing “Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child” (Kock, 2003, pg7). Rayner, also suggests that it may be, “removing a police constables discretion” Raynor (2003, pg11). However she goes on to admit that it was made clear, “the Curfew was to be limited to instructions to police under existing discretions. It was not a new law at all.” (Raynor, 2003, pg 12) . The policy states it is, “Consistent with the Children and Community Services Act 2004,” (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg3) This legislation gives a police officer discretion to move to a safe location a child who is; not at their usual place of residence, unsupervised and where there is risk to the childs well-being in relation to where they are found. (Children and Community Services Act 2004, 2012, pg 38, s.41) There is also similar relevant legislation to be found in section 138B of the Child Welfare Act. (Child Welfare Act 1947, 2006, pg76, s.138B) The mentioned legislation may not always apply to “category 2” (Young People In Northbridge Policy, 2006, pg4) of the policy, and the policy suggests such people be assessed individually. This would include instances where the person involved was not an obvious welfare concern or a minor. In such circumstances for the police it would be, “business as normal” and there is a variety of legislation the police could use depending on the situation. An Example from section s128(3) of the criminal investigation act (Criminal Investigation Act, 2006 , pg119 ,s128). Police may arrest a person for a non serious...
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