Narrow vote on crime plan

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

After an intense hour-long debate, councillors voted to reactivate the Port Hedland Community Safety and Crime Prevention Plan.

With votes cast 4-3, Julie Arif, Louise Newbery and Richard Whitwell were against the reinstatement with some citing a lack of information in relation to trials of the Cashless Welfare Card and TAMS systems in the Kimberley as their reasoning and a wish for better planning in relation to the potential scheme to follow.

Councillors for the prevention plan were aghast at the disapproval for the plan with Jan Gillingham, Lincoln Tavo and Troy Melville siding with Mayor Camilo Blanco to move the motion forward.

Planning will now begin on the $390,000 committee with a revised Community Safety and Crime Prevention Plan to be presented for endorsement by June this year.

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As an unplanned part of his argument for the motion, Cr Blanco showed the council a graphic video compilation of CCTV footage captured from the South Hedland CBD, some of which had not been seen outside of police headquarters before.

The footage showed acts of domestic violence in public areas, intoxicated physical fights between people, members of the public attacking police officers and children watching fights as they would a television show.

Cr Arif thanked Mr Blanco for showing the footage, but still did not agree to the prevention plan moving forward.

“To me, this just strengthens the argument to defer this. We need to get it right, we can’t just have a go at it,” she said.

“There’s a whole lot of flaws with this recommendation ... the recommendation needs to be reworked.”

Cr Tavo, however, was in shock after viewing the footage that there was not a unanimous decision to move forward with the recommendation. “I can’t believe after seeing that video and what we’ve been through, we need to debate the topic,” he said.

“As councillors, we are here to do what’s right for the Hedland community and this is the start of a position to get the information.”

Councillors spoke about the violence and alcohol-related antisocial behaviours they witnessed in their daily lives with Cr Gillingham commenting on her concern for the young “nippers”, who were subject to domestic violence.

Cr Blanco urged councillors objecting to the prevention plan moving forward to think about the greater good of the town.

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