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Media: Calls for Change as anti-social behaviour increases in Brisbane Street Mall

Sunday 16 January 2022, The Examiner

Nikita McGuire

CONCERNED: Tasmania Police Constable Nick Dennis and Constable Olivia Walker, Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage, Coffee Republic owner Robin Smith. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Business owners in Launceston's Brisbane Street Mall are concerned over anti-social behaviour being demonstrated by the city's youths.

Recently, the owner and manager of Coffee Republic experienced an attack by four young girls causing him to have to be taken to hospital as a precaution.

Mr Smith, who endured the recent attack, said that he started a petition late last year where 70 per cent of the stores in the mall agreed further action was needed in response to antisocial behaviour, shoplifting and aggressive behaviour.

Mr Smith said he was assaulted when he confronted a group who had allegedly taken something from a neighbouring store.

"The assault was an escalation of the usual behaviour that I have witnessed over the years," he said.

"I was asked to go and supervise the request to search a handbag, I approached and saw it was taking a turn for the worst.

"The girls launched at me and sprayed shaving cream in my eyes and tried to pull me to the ground and it was quite a scene. I've been in the mall for over twenty years working and it's always been an issue."

Tasmania Police acting Inspector Aleena Crack said that this type of behaviour was unacceptable.

"We would like to be alerted to these kinds of incidents when they are happening, any time people are displaying anti-social behaviour we encourage people to report it," she said.

"We don't want the mall to stop being a place where people congregate.

"We certainly do see a spike in anti-social behaviour in the summer months but it is something we discourage as we want this to be a safe place for everyone."

Since the incident, Independent Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage has gotten all stakeholders together to have a few meetings about it and work out a way to stop it from happening.

Ms Armitage said that something needs to be done.

"I've been into the mall and spoken to store owners and [most] have said, 'please, please, please do something'", she said.

"They're concerned with the current situation."

"One message I got back was, it's really hard getting people to come into the mall to shop because of COVID, so the last thing needed is a further deterrent."

Since understanding the issues faced by the store owners, Ms Armitage has worked to put together a meeting with various concerned parties as a means of working towards a solution for a problem that has persisted for several years.


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