Extra police with "zero tolerance" for anti-social behaviour will be deployed in Alice Springs over the summer months as authorities try to avoid a repeat of last summer's central Australian crime surge.
The Northern Territory government's plan is set to tackle crime and alcohol restrictions in the region, after a surge of community unrest and violence forced the federal government to intervene earlier this year.
At least 50 extra police officers will be stationed in the desert city as the government tries to address alcohol-related offending including assaults, unlawful entries, and domestic and family violence, Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said in Alice Springs on Tuesday.
"We understand the anxiety of the community in Alice Springs and this is a comprehensive plan to make sure that young people and their families are engaged," she said.
NT Police Minister Brent Potter, a former army veteran who was handed the portfolio just weeks ago, said the operation would be "high-visibility policing".
"It is a zero-tolerance Christmas period, we will not be accepting any anti-social behaviour or behaviour that doesn't meet community expectations," he said.
Alongside extra police officers, police wanding powers will continue to be enforced in the area, greater trespass powers will be established for businesses and venues and road safety initiatives will be rolled out.
NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said fewer police officers would be on leave over the Christmas period to address the growing demand.
"Our cops know who the young people are and that itself is a prevention tool," he said
"We get them home (and) if they want to re-engage in harmful behaviours that becomes a matter for the (Department of Families)."
New alcohol measures were reintroduced in April, in response to increases in alcohol-related harm particularly involving young people, with alcohol-related assaults rising by nearly 70 per cent from 2021 to 2022.
The crime surge was in part attributed to the expiry of a number of long-running alcohol restrictions.
Youth advocates also attributed the surge to intergenerational trauma, the rising cost of living, and a lack of access to services in town camps.
The government's new plan for 2023 is set to include additional resources for social workers as well as school holiday programs with sporting activities to "keep kids engaged."
"To tire them out and to give them a feed so they go home and have a good night's sleep, not causing trouble coming into town and running amok," Ms Fyles said.
In May the federal and NT governemnt signed a $14.2 million two-year agreement to deliver additional policing and other support.
The deal was set to fund 30 police officers, 21 liquor licensing inspectors and compliance officers and 10 security guards in public places across Alice Springs.
Australian Associated Press
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