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Mparntwe youth curfew to end on Tuesday

Dechlan Brennan -

The Northern Territory government has announced the extended youth curfew in Mparntwe/Alice Springs will end on Tuesday at 6am, with Chief Minister Eva Lawler saying they knew the "success of the curfew".

The youth curfew for every child under the age of 18, was originally set for 14-days before being extended this week to take in the entirety of the school holiday.

It was enacted because of violence in the town at the end of March, which spilled over to the nearby Hidden Valley town camp.

On Friday, Ms Lawler said the curfew would end on Tuesday as planned.

"The people of Alice Springs have been telling me over and over how positive the curfew has been. We have been working to come up with how do we get the same effect of a curfew, without a curfew?" she told reporters.

The chief minister said there would still be a "high visibility" police presence in the town, with 25 additional police officers stationed at Mparntwe/Alice Springs until the end of June, with the officers coming from other policing units across the NT.

"There will continue to be … officers on every bottle shop in Alice Springs," Ms Lawler said. "We know the additional officers in Alice Springs have made a difference."

"Territory Families have also had additional resources on the ground. They had the co-responders, but additional staff on the ground from 10:00pm to 6:00am every night in Alice Springs and that will continue as well."

Ms Lawler said a local community safety hub would be set up in the mall.

"That will provide a visible presence of people such as traditional owners, but also police auxiliaries, Territory Families staff, engagement officers, we'll have people in the mall providing that support to the community as well," she said.

Territory Families chief executive Emma White said: "We will be there through the day and through the night like we have been".

Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said there had been a high level of compliance with the curfew, with 32 police "interactions" on Thursday night.

It is understood no one has been arrested for curfew breaches.

The government said they had not ruled out implementing curfew measures again, with Ms Lawler saying: "Of course, if we have that string to our bow, I am more than happy as Chief Minister to do that again".

"We want that same feel to our town with the curfew, without the curfew," she said.

Asked what the trigger point for that decision would be, she said: "Well, I think what we saw on Tuesday two weeks ago was abhorrent behaviour, young people that seemed to be out of control. The fear that I could feel, the conversations that I could hear when I came to Alice Springs the next day."

"I will continue to work with the police commissioner, with the agency heads, and in the future, those decisions will be able to be made," Ms Lawler said.

"We tried a curfew. It was high risk to try a curfew. It wasn't something we knew whether it would work or not. But there was a reluctance in the past to have a curfew. We've seen it be successful in Alice Springs."

More to come.


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