Northam Council votes to tackle crime in Bernard Park

The Northam Shire Council could soon be switching off the Wi-Fi access overnight at Bernard Park and locking the toilets to tackle criminal and antisocial behaviour.

These measures come after Council voted 9 – 1 in favour of the recommendation from the Community Safety Committee to investigate the options of locking the toilet overnight, switching off the Wi-Fi after 7pm, installing signage at the park and preventing public access to the power supply at the Soundshell. 

Former Shire president Steven Pollard voted against the move.

During the meeting, Mr Pollard said that they should not “pick and choose” who goes to the park.

He said if people are acting inappropriately, then police would move them on. 

Members of the public consume alcohol in the area and engage in behaviour not in keeping with expectations of the community

Northam senior sergeant Geoff Dickson

Northam Police Senior Sergeant Geoff Dickson said Bernard Park is a location of frequent community gathering, particularly the sound shell, gazebos, play areas and barbeques.

“From time to time, members of the public consume alcohol in the area and engage in behaviour not in keeping with expectations of the community, including instances of criminal and anti-social behaviour,” Sgt Dickson said.

He said police have observed community members congregating in the facilities and using them as accommodation, particularly the sound shell. He added that the toilet facilities in the area, provided by the Shire, were repeatedly vandalised.

Sgt Dickson said this had often resulted in Shire of Northam employees being confronted by members of the public who were intoxicated or engaged in criminal conduct.

“Northam Police fully support initiatives by the Shire of Northam that reduce incidences of antisocial and criminal behaviour, particularly in primary locations like public parks and areas of congregation in which the community should expect to enjoy themselves at all times of the day or night,” Sgt Dickson said.