HOONS TAKING OVER PARKS
By CHRISTIAN STANGER
ROWDY outdoor parties which have disrupted Burleigh's parks for a number of years continued over the holiday season despite an extension of police powers.
The "move on" powers which enable police to break up unruly crowds in areas stretching from Justin Park to John Laws Park, were first instituted in 2003 for a period of two years.
The powers have been extended until December 2007, but according to a local business leader the measures have so far proven ineffective.
President of the Burleigh Chamber of Commerce Michael Hart claimed the powers were not enough to solve the problems of unruly youth parties which plague the town's parks.
"They've had the powers for the last couple of years and it's in that time that we've had the trouble," Mr Hart said.
Mr Hart said Burleigh had experienced major problems over the last two years with vandalism, violence and under-age drinking and because the powers only extend from Burleigh Point and John Laws Park down through Justin Park to Third Avenue, they are simply shifting the problem to areas north along the beach.
"Any trouble in these parks, they can move people on but anywhere further north of there, they don't," he said.
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"They don't even have any jurisdiction across the road at Rudd Park but the move on powers should cover the whole esplanade and all of the parks.
"The police are very under-resourced in this area and people say that if you had a policeman standing on every corner it wouldn't solve the problem but I say that it would be a start."
However, Member for Burleigh Christine Smith said Mr Hart was looking for a magic solution where there was none and said that the problems and solution to unruly youths starts in the home.
"We have to look at the ways we're raising our children in the first place," Mrs Smith said.
"Unfortunately there is no magic answer or solution to these problems."
Mrs Smith supports the police move on powers saying they worked, but said an increased police presense may cause the powers to be abused.
"Move on powers are good for breaking up crowds and they work but we have to be careful how we go about it," she said.
"We need to educate our children about respect and I think that's what it comes down to."
Broadbeach Police's Acting Inspector Bruce Dimond said there is no need for the powers to be extended because as they are, the measures are effective and adequate for the Burleigh headland area.
"The powers are used in the area where youths generally congregate on weekends and police are able to move on anyone creating a disturbance or engaging in anti-social behaviour," Act- ing Insp Dimond said.
Acting Insp Dimond also said police are taking further measures to bring youths in Burleigh and Palm Beach under control through Operation Southern Alliance which targets youth parties in the suburbs on Friday and Saturday nights.
"We are targeting Burleigh and Palm Beach and that is also making available more police to those areas," he said.
"But as for move-on powers, the area covered is considered adequate by police."