Boundaries set on security

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph

Hedland police have warned residents not to take property defence into their own hands by unlawfully modifying fences and gates.

South Hedland Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Clarke said people needed to adhere to local government regulations and there were plenty of options to limit property damage.

“Police don’t encourage the use of items or constructions that are designed to potentially seriously injure or harm a person,” she said.

“There is legislation around the setting of a dangerous thing and people need to be mindful that they may be breaking the law if they do so and may be liable to prosecution and imprisonment up to three years.

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“There are also council and local government by-laws, regulations around what you can and can’t build on your property, so it is up to residents to ensure what they do is lawful.”

“Unsightly properties with fortification are probably not ideal when trying to strive for building a safer, community-orientated town where residents feel secure.”

WA homeowners can be held accountable under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1985 if they create a danger with the deliberate intent of doing harm or damage to a person, or act with reckless disregard of the presence of the person.

A Town of Port Hedland planning spokeswoman said planning applications were reviewed on their merit depending on site characteristics and circumstances.

“One of these considerations is possible risk to human health or safety, which the Town takes into account when an application is received for a fence proposed to be constructed of potentially dangerous materials,” she said.

“Under this, the Town’s general position is that barbed wire, dangerous spikes or electrified fencing is not appropriate in residential areas.”

“Under the Building Act 2011. a building permit must be issued by the Town for all fence construction, including additions and modifications to ensure they meet Wind Region D/cyclonic area structural requirements.”

The Dividing Fences Act 1961 regulates the maintenance of dividing fences in WA and states local government written approval is needed to construct a boundary fence generally not higher than 1.8m.

“We encourage target hardening — that’s we call it — things like door alarms, sensor lighting are very very effective as an immediate effect, automatic timings and lights to show someone is home,” Acting Senior Sergeant Clarke said.

“Often with opportunistic burglaries where people have gone out the back or are gardening or getting their shopping out, someone will sneak in through a side door or back door that you’ve left open.”

“People will be trying doors until they find one that’s open.

“That goes for vehicles and houses. If your property looks tougher to break into, then they’re going to move on.”

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