Taxi rank trial curbs crime

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

A trial relocation of a South Hedland taxi rank has been labelled a success after a significant reduction in crime and police resourcing demands, according to local officers.

In May, Town of Port Hedland councillors agreed to a three-month trial relocation of the South Hedland Square rank after “ongoing issues including loitering and antisocial behaviour”. As the trial came to an end, South Hedland acting officer-in-charge Sergeant Andrew Ramsden said police had observed a positive change in the behaviour of patrons using the new taxi stand at Wise Terrace, south of McLarty Boulevard.

“What can be directly observed as a result of the relocation of the taxi stand is a reduction in negative social media responses, a reduction in reported crime and positive feedback from the community — a perception that the move has been successful,” he said.

“The successful relocation to a more ‘open-design’ area has relieved congestion, resulting in fewer antisocial behaviours traditionally observed when people are required to wait for services in more densely populated locations.”

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Hedland Taxis owner Bozi Ivkovic said the company would be open to the trial site becoming permanent, but important amenities were missing at the new location, including more light at night.

“We want to work with everyone to help fight the anti-social behaviour, but there’s still work that needs to be done to ensure the safety of our drivers and customers,” she said.

“If we can get everything we were told we were going to have with shade, bins, more light, cameras and a safer way for drivers to pick up and drop off — because they did say we would be getting all these things — then why not?”

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said the authority would be contacting all key stakeholders before making a final decision on whether to make the trial location permanent.

“We’re committed to the best outcome for the community,” he said.

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