Top cop must go, says Congress after stabbing death

p2355-donna-ah-chee-3-okSir – We are calling for the resignation of the NT Police Commissioner following the tragic death of an Aboriginal woman in an Alice Springs town camp overnight.

 

The fact that the police have abandoned full lockdown of bottle shops is a key cause of potentially preventable alcohol related violence – and the buck stops with the Police Commissioner.

 

At the recent public meeting in Alice Springs I reported that two of our people were fighting for their lives in the Intensive Care Unit following alcohol related stabbings.

 

I advised that since the police had abandoned full lockdown, Alice was going back to being the stabbing capital of the world. I warned that soon there would be a stabbing related death and tragically it has now happened.

 

While we are clear that we cannot attribute any particular stabbing or other assault to the absence of police on outlets, based on the best data we have, about half of these assaults are preventable with full police lockdown of bottle shops.

 

And by this I do not mean Temporary Beat Locations or intermittent Point of Sale Interventions – I mean police on all takeaway outlets, all day every day.

 

Every life matters in our community.

 

He has abdicated his responsibility to protect law and order and promote public safety, especially for our community.

 

The failure to implement full lockdown is even more unacceptable given the fact that 30 new police began a few weeks ago.

 

Our people are suffering severe alcohol related harms including the ultimate price of a premature death.

 

It isn’t time to argue about who funds what and whose job it is. Right now our people are dying from a potentially preventable cause and it has to stop.

 

We cannot wait another day for action.

 

Donna Ah Chee, CEO (pictured)

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

 

[ED – We have asked the police to comment.]

 

 

UPDATE Friday 1:15pm

 

The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) has issued a statement demanding that Ms Ah Chee withdraw “her disgusting and offensive comments regarding police on bottle shops in Alice Springs”.

 

NTPA President, Paul McCue, said: “This isn’t just an attack on the Police Commissioner, it’s an attack on every hard – working police officer across the Territory, who puts on the uniform every day to serve and protect the community.

 

“To infer that this horrible crime could be committed because police aren’t stationed outside a private, highly – profitable, business is utter garbage.

 

“When did managing personal responsibility become a police duty?” asked Mr McCue.

 

“The only person responsible for committing a crime is the individual who chooses to commit that crime.

 

Ms Ah Chee has thumbed her nose at every remote community which is crying out for a greater police presence.

 

“Police resources are stretched wafer – thin and some remote stations have been forced to close because the police force simply doesn’t have the numbers to staff them.

 

“Full lock-down is unsustainable with current resourcing levels, yet organisations like the CAAC continue to call for highly-trained officers to work as pseudo security guards at takeaway alcohol outlets in Alice Springs

 

“If I were a member of the Alice Springs or surrounding community, I would be disgusted by these comments and call on those responsible to look in their own backyard before laying the blame elsewhere.”

 

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25 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Heather Wells
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Police … damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Perhaps if neighbours, friends, relatives took some more responsibility and dobbed in the on selling instead of turning a blind eye or helped someone they knew who was a victim of DV due to excess grog, things might improve.
    You can put advertisements aplenty on TV regarding drinking and driving, wearing seatbelts, DV STDs and smoking but ultimately it is up to the individual whether they heed these or not.
    Having police stationed at every liquor outlet will never stop someone being hurt or killed behind a closed door.
    I am responsible for my own actions and held accountable, so should others.

    View Comment
  2. Concerned Citz
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 10:26 am

    @ Hal Duell: Centrecorp, in which Congress are shareholders, own Milner Road Supermarket which also sells alcohol.

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  3. Original Centralian
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Way out of line Donna AhChee! No use playing the blame game.
    Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Bad choices are made that get people into so much trouble.
    The policeman on duty at the bottle shop is not going to prevent this type of behaviour.
    Do we blame you for all the ill health that is being suffered by Aboriginal people? Same thing!

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  4. Ian Rennie
    Posted April 29, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I must agree with Mr Paul McCue.
    Anyhow, Donna predicted a stabbing. Wow, about as spot on as me now predicting a major vehicle crash this year with a drunk Aboriginal at the wheel. Just too easy.

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  5. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted April 29, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Police is not trained to mount guard.
    Why not built sentry post for them? Having a changing of the guard as tourists attraction.
    Business is business and hotels and bottles shops should hire security guards like night clubs and banks do.

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  6. Psuedo Guru
    Posted April 29, 2018 at 6:59 am

    The no cash, no grog, food only card will help.

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  7. Jones
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Cheap shot considering that Congress is a part owner of CentreCorp.
    Until recently CentreCorp ran the Memo Club as a major source of grog for Aboriginal people.
    So while Congress was getting $40m a year of tax payer funds for Aboriginal patients, many of them alcoholics, it was peddling alcohol to them.
    Best for Congress to focus on lifting its own standards.

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  8. Scarlett Grant
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 11:01 am

    So when is Donna going to tender her resignation? The comments are akin to blaming CAAC for all the health problems of some residents in Alice Springs.
    Accountability of actions appears to only apply to some. Thoughts should be with the victim’s family not making excuses for some one who is alleged to have killed another human being, who mattered to the family and extended family. Disgusted yet again.

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  9. James T Smerk
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Paul McCue is 100% correct.

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  10. Paul Parker
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Re: Jenny, Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm.
    Yes, do agree.
    Re: Ginnia, Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm.
    I do accept the government in the NT has failed to advance; However NT’s failure largely results Commonwealth’s ongoing racist blinkered approach to policy, with abusive usage of racial filters, mostly IMHO to avoid addressing real known problems.
    In particular the Commonwealth’s gross failure to ensure for ALL Australians an equality of responsibility, an equality of accountability, and an equality of opportunity.
    Re Heather Wells, Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:32 am.
    May be possible to create a reasonable limit on volume by amending legislation to set a particular take-away volume as a “commercial” quantity, as this is done with cannabis.
    BTW may not be effective. Example: A dozen people all purchase their daily limit then go off together to consume.

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  11. Paul Parker
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    The Congress’s Donna Ah Chee complains police are not concentrating on ensuring full lock down of bottle shops and names this as the key cause of potentially preventable alcohol related violence. This, in simple terms, is rubbish.
    At best it is a cheap, prejudicial, political rhetorical pretence this “real action” is being taken.
    In Feb 2018 the takeaway alcohol point of sale checks were 58,058 of which 195 resulted in No Sale.
    Ordering Police to wait there to catch 0.3% (0.2% for all of NT) is a waste of police resources.
    At each point of sale the licensees need to exercise their responsibility as “The Licensee” to prevent unlawful sales and to maintain the peace.
    When “The Licensee” fails then immediately suspend their licence.
    If such licensee failure re-occurs, then seek the court to declare their license cancelled.
    Passing licensee responsibility to the police reduces time for police to investigate and prosecute other offences.
    The NT legislation enables Donna Ah Chee, and others concerned, to lodge their own complaints about anti-social drinking in most locations, including private places like homes, where regular alcohol related incidents occur. The law enables them to apply for consumption of alcohol to be banned, enables them to apply for persons to be banned from possessing, enables them to apply for persons to be banned from attending licensed locations, enables them to apply for persons to be banned from attending other specific locations, all this with particular attention to when restricted persons are intoxicated.
    “Turning the taps off” as policy is better known as prohibition. History shows this ensured growth of unlawful liquor distribution and so many other criminal activities.
    Congress needs apply more effort to encourage everyone in the community, particularly higher risk individuals, to use what is available within the legislation.

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  12. Posted April 27, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    My understanding is that the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) has called for the continuation of police stationed at Point of Sale Interventions (POSI) until the implementation of training of auxilliary officers intended to undertake these duties (as recommended by the Riley Report) is completed.
    It’s an eminently sensible and reasonable approach that the NT Police has, at least partially, rejected; and it’s no surprise to witness the upsurge in alcohol-related crime as a consequence. It is preventable, as the operation of Temporary Beat Locations and POSIs has demonstrated spectacularly well since first being implemented.
    I think that’s the point Ms Ah Chee is emphasising, too.
    Just over two decades ago Alice Springs was in uproar over the scale of alcohol-fuelled crime in the town, including murders at the rate of one a month.
    This was the situation that led to a public meeting being called in Todd Mall and the foundation of PAAC in the first place.
    A few years beforehand, in 1989-90, there was similar outrage in the Alice, attracting national attention upon us for all the wrong reasons. Again, the murder rate was about one per month, vehicle thefts averaged two per day, and for the year 1990 there were 13,000 protective custody cases recorded, statistically well above half the town’s population at the time.
    Alice Springs was described as the “murder capital of Australia,” long before we earned the title of “stabbing capital of Australia.”
    We didn’t have TBLs or POSIs in those days; instead, what we had was the country’s highest police numbers per capita in Australia (which probably remains the case) that still was insufficient for coping with the consequences of rampant alcohol abuse.
    There were also expressions of deep bitterness by the NT Police on having to deal with the unending and unrelenting pressure of having to deal with chronically drunk people.
    In 1974 there was a newspaper front page headline of police sick of dealing with “human garbage patrols” and the same sentiment was featured on another front page report in March 1993.
    That is what the police are risking having to go back to again when the force takes its collective foot off the brakes in this intervening period until auxilliary officers are trained and placed on duty.
    I think the NTPA President, Paul McCue, has been greatly mistaken in the approach he has taken to this issue and is well out of order on it.

    View Comment
  13. Ginnia
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    When the dust settles on the Anzac Oval money grab how about a Territory wide push to get booze sales out of and away from supermarkets and residential areas. Full stop!
    Put them together in one or two spots and then the number of police needed to keep order would be much reduced.

    View Comment
  14. Heather Wells
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Having police at bottleshops will only get the Sober Bobs checked out; those who do the driving and either buy or take passengers with the appropriate paperwork (for want of a better term) to get the alcohol.
    If you want a better town, then get police on the beat, walking around and talking to the townsfolk.
    Just imagine if 30 cops casually strolled around the shops engaging with the public.
    It would create a much better atmosphere for those who are fearful, give the community a good vibe. They could give attention to those who are drunk or violent or give assistance to those in need of getting help, right there on the spot.
    After all the town centre is not a Melbourne or even a Darwin in size. It could also give those new cops a better idea of the town and its peoples. Getting rid of the top cop will not stop those who are doing the wrong thing by their fellow citizens.

    View Comment
  15. Hal Duell
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 11:30 am

    @ InterestedDarwinObserver, Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:43 am:
    I’m not sure about Congress’s share in the Memo Club, but I think they own one of the five shares in Centre Corp.
    It might be interesting to check Centre Corp’s realestate portfolio in Alice and see which, if any, liquor outlets they own.

    View Comment
  16. James T Smerk
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I love it how she makes it clear that “while we are clear that we cannot attribute any particular stabbing or other assault to the absence of police on outlets” and yet her whole write-up is basically blaming that. It’s obvious something needs to be done but desperate people will still find alcohol somewhere.
    I’m just curious what Congress are doing on their end to help combat the situation.
    The whole culture needs to change and this needs to start at the homes with the children of alcoholics.

    View Comment
  17. Heather Wells
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Alcohol may be the cause of this horrendous crime but the police posted at bottle shops will not stop those who can from obtaining it.
    Maybe the answer in regard to sales would be to have a cut off limit no matter who you are or a shortening of the time for bottleshop sales.
    Sales brought in from interstate or further up north cannot be stopped.
    People on selling grog cannot be stopped by having cops at the bottleshops.
    TV advertising of DV, car accidents etc have not stopped the violence.
    Perhaps a “turning the taps off” policy would work or the sale of low alcohol grog would help, but in the end it is the user that needs to be held accountable as well.

    View Comment
  18. Petre Ewesr
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I agree with Local (Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:58 am).
    I do not see why this is a police problem. It is a social problem.
    James T Smerk: That is the way of politicians, all talk no action, and the sheep believe them.

    View Comment
  19. InterestedDarwinObserver
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Agreed, police at bottle shops should be reinstated, permanently and as soon as possible.
    Why stop at the commissioner? This is Gunner’s doing.
    But can anyone remind me, was it Congress who had a share or interest in the Memo Club when it was spilling our people out onto the street drunk?

    View Comment
  20. Local
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:58 am

    As usual the blame game starts. Instead of looking in there own back yard first.
    What a joke get off your arses and start helping people instead of blaming everyone else. It’s what you’re getting paid for!

    View Comment
  21. Ginnia
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I agree with Donna on this one. Violence and drunks rolling around the streets again.
    We have gone backwards in regard to law inforcement and the town is becoming very unpleasant and unsafe.
    Hoppies Camp is now a booze fueled noisy area that seems to be allowed to carry on nightly unchecked.
    Really! How come?
    And now someone has been killed as a result! Just not good enough. But the government is happy to spend $150m it doesn’t have on a gallery. Fix law and order first!

    View Comment
  22. Dianne Thompsons
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Una Alice Local, you hit the nail on the head.
    Papers have put Shirleen Campbell on the front page and the news has posted her a hero. This is a joke. Our sisters are contantly dying on that town camp and she is flying all around Australia telling everyone she is protecting our sister.
    I am a sister and a surviver or DV and I have done more for our women and people then you have and I havent left my town to do so. Give back the taxpayers’ money and get off your ass and start protecting these our sisters in your town camp.

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  23. Alice Local
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Where is Shirleen Campbell? Isn’t she the person protecting this town camp? No, she’s probably galavanting around Australia on taxpayers’ money preaching to the Prime Minister while doing nothing about the violence in her town camp.

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  24. Jenny
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    We need to get the bottle shops out of supermarkets. These businesses can afford to relocate to stand alone bottle shops but not in the CBD.
    Stand alone bottle shops work down south. The CBD would be a place to socialise shop and do business rather the disgrace it is after 2pm.
    Have liquor outlets cover the cost of policing through increased liquor fees, apart from
    the pubs. It’s not like the money stays in town.

    View Comment
  25. James T Smerk
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Is this lady for real? Always someone else’s fault, hey. If anyone is to be sacked maybe she should be on top of the list.

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