Snap three-night curfew declared in Alice Springs (2024)

In short:

A curfew has been declared in Alice Springs for three nights, from Monday to Wednesday, between 10pm and 6am.

It follows a string of violent incidents in the town over the weekend.

What's next?

People can still enter the designated zone during curfew hours for certain reasons.

The Northern Territory police commissioner has declared another curfew in Alice Springs for three nights, following a string of violent incidents in the outback town.

The curfew will run from Monday to Wednesday, between 10pm to 6am each night, and applies to both children and adults.

Commissioner Michael Murphy had been considering implementing a curfew since Sunday, after what NT Police Minister Brent Potter described as a "horror 72 hours" in the Red Centre.

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This included the alleged assault of four off-duty police officers – three women and a man – in the early hours of Sunday morning by a group of about 20 people.

A police officer was also run over outside a bottle shop on Friday afternoon and a 42-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a knife on Sunday at lunchtime.

Her cousin is now facing a charge of recklessly endangering life.

Commissioner Murphy said the curfew would be enforced "in the confines between Anzac Hill, Schwarz Crescent, down to the hospital, from the Stuart Highway across to Leichhardt and Stott Terrace".

"Anybody into the zone can be engaged by police, and they can be asked to leave," he said.

"Or alternatively, they can be asked to stay if there's another disturbance and they need to be contained for their own safety.

"A failure to abide to a request by police can lead to an offence, and it can lead to an infringement notice or an arrest."

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People can still enter the designated area during curfew hours for certain reasons, Commissioner Murphy said.

"Some of those reasons are if you're fleeing from domestic violence, if you're visiting family, if you have to care for someone, if you're here for employment purposes, if you go into a fast food restaurant or some lawful purpose," he said.

Commissioner Murphy said he set the curfew's start time at 10pm to allow enough time for residents to attend events during NAIDOC Week.

"I'm very mindful about the decision to support NAIDOC Week and not disrupt events associated with NAIDOC Week," he said.

"It's vitally important during this time, and it's more important than ever that we need community support to solve the longer term issues of Alice Springs."

Under controversial new laws introduced in May, the Northern Territory's police commissioner has the power to declare 72-hour lockdowns to respond to "public disorder".

"We will monitor the situation closely for the next 72 hours, and any extension will need to be signed off by the minister for police," Chief Minister Eva Lawler said.

"We will keep the community informed as to what will happen after the initial 72-hour curfew period ends."

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The new powers were developed in response to concerns that an Alice Springs youth curfew in March was unlawful under existing emergency management laws.

Ms Lawler said the NT's Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities had been asked to provide extra staff to assist with managing the curfew.

However, she said non-governmental organisations also needed to "step up".

"We need to have the NGOs in Alice Springs continuing to step up, continuing to put additional resources into Alice Springs as well," she said.

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Off-duty officers robbed, punched and kicked

NT Police said the four off-duty officers were walking along a path next to the Todd River in the early hours of Sunday, when they were attacked near the Stott Terrace bridge.

Commissioner Murphy said it followed a "large-scale disturbance involving up to 80 people" on the Alice Springs council lawns.

"[The group] engaged in disturbances and violent conduct, causing our [on duty] police to respond," he said.

"Our police had to use some force to disperse the crowd. They eventually did and [people] wandered into the Todd River of Alice Springs.

"That subsequently led to the assault of the off-duty police."

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One female off-duty officer was allegedly pulled to the ground and had her handbag stolen, while another female officer was allegedly punched in the face and kicked multiple times, with her mobile phone taken.

A male officer was also punched and kicked multiple times, police said.

Two of the women later attended Alice Springs Hospital with minor injuries.

Arrest made over bottle shop incident

NT police also said a 26-year-old man had been arrested for allegedly running over a police officer outside an Alice Springs bottle shop at 3.15pm on Friday.

Police say the officer was monitoring liquor sales at the outlet when he was alerted to a potential drink-driver parked in front of the shop.

The officer attempted to detain the male driver as he was reversing out of the car park by reaching inside the vehicle and removing the keys.

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It’s alleged the officer was then knocked to the ground, with the vehicle running over his foot.

The driver exited the vehicle soon after and fled the scene before being located and arrested.

He was taken back to the Alice Springs watch house, where he returned an alcohol reading of .187.

The officer was later treated at Alice Springs hospital for a suspected broken finger and right foot.

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Gavin Morris is an Alice Springs town councillor and principal of Yipirinya School, which teaches some of the area's most disadvantaged students from surrounding town camps.

He said the curfew was "reactive, but necessary".

"The reality is we're seeing large groups of young people … unsupervised, walking around the streets late at night, because the town camps aren't safe," he said.

Mr Morris called for greater scrutiny of the organisations tasked with overseeing the management of town camps, and said a three-day snap curfew wouldn't address the underlying causes of dysfunction.

"The standard of living that Aboriginal families are forced to live in, in the 17 town camps around Alice Springs are absolutely fourth world," he said.

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Snap three-night curfew declared in Alice Springs (2024)
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