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‘Staff at risk’: Mandurah security company calls quits on Smart Street Mall patrols

Mandurah’s Smart Street Mall notorious for brawls and anti-social behaviour.
Photo: Tex Reeks.

A security company hired to patrol a Mandurah mall, notorious for late night brawls and anti-soical behaviour, have quit citing “staff were at risk” because they say the City of Mandurah didn’t have the budget to facilitate their full team.

The company Rooforce was contracted by the City of Mandurah to conduct night foot patrols in an effort to help stamp out anti-social behaviour after a string of high profile incidents in Smart Street Mall which included a violent brick attack.

Rooforce had a successful 20-week trial which involved up to five officers patrol several streets of the Mandurah CBD including Smart Street, Tuckys Lane, Mandurah Terrace and Sholl Street in December 2018.

The comapany said the trial ended on March 30, 2019.

After the trial, the company was contracted on a weekly basis to continue security foot patrols in the area.

Rooforce’s general manager Gerard Martinet said he sent an email to the City of Mandurah on June 28, which gave a weeks notice that the company will cease its operation in the mall as of Friday July 5.

Mr Martinet told Skeer Media the company decided to cease operation in the Smart Street Mall because the City of Mandurah cut hours, which made it unviable.

“The City of Mandurah stated they had no budget for it,” he said.

“We were reduced to two guys. Our hours got dropped.

“We ceased operations because it was not viable, very hard to man, and I believe it made the service ineffective.”

Mr Martinet said they would usually have five to six officers working the mall at the weekend, which created an effective deterrence to antisocial behaviour, but being cut down to a two-man team made it almost impossible to manage.

“Staff were at risk,” he said.

“The fact that we had to start later, with only a two-man team, meant we couldn’t gather a general idea of what or who we were dealing with.

“We would usually have two teams, one at each end of the mall feeding each other intel via radios.”

Sam Baldacchino suffers a black eye after an early morning attack in Mandurah’s Smart Street Mall. Photo: Tex Reeks

The mall has had a recent spate of high profile incidents which include a parking inspector who was sliced in the face, an elderly fruit store owner attacked by two men, a stabbing, and the latest, a wild brawl involving up to ten people.

The brawl happened about 2am on Saturday, June 29, outside the Norma Jeans nightclub.

The fight, which was briefly caught on a Snapchat video, saw more than ten people throw punches and sling each other to the ground.

What the vision didn’t capture is some of the group allegedly wielding weapons, which witnesses described to Skeer Media, as knives, a hammer, and even a meat cleaver.

A source told Skeer Media that a young man was allegedly held down by five others who then proceeded to use a hammer to smash the back of his skull.

It’s understood he was taken to Peel Health Campus.

The general manager of Roofoorce, with more than 37 years of experience in the security industry, said the brawl on Saturday could have been prevented.

“With the right number and the right amount of hours Saturday’s brawl could have been prevented,” Mr Martinet said.

“It stemmed from an 18th across the bridge.

“They need to gather intel and share information for it to be a successful operation.”

Mr Martinet said he’s worked in the Northbridge precinct and Rooforce has several contracts which carry out successful operations with the right hours and manpower.

Mandurah Police have charged one person and are still investigating the incident.

During the brawl, damage was caused to a window of a business located in the mall.  

A 23-year-old man from Coodanup has been charged with one count of:
• Criminal Damage; and
• Acts or Omissions that are likely to, or do, Endanger Life, Health or Safety. 

He is due to appear in the Mandurah Magistrate Court at a later date.

Mandurah Police patrol Smart Street. Photo: Tex Reeks.

The City of Mandurah said the security contract with Rooforce has come to an end and negotiations are underway regarding a new contractor.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said the safety and wellbeing of our community continues to be a major priority. 

“Last week, Councillors and I set a process in place to demand greater action on addressing antisocial behaviour in our city,” Mr Williams said.

“We will soon be hosting a summit with the key decision makers, including our local MPs, key government representatives, police, community and business leaders, with the expectation of a commitment of increased police presence, stronger collaboration between State Government agencies and local service providers, and resources for supporting business and community initiatives to address these issues.

“Despite a huge amount of work being done by Council, business leaders, our Police and service providers, our collective achievements continue to be undermined by incidents of crime and bad behaviour.

“I’m proud of the work that is already being done by the City, and I don’t underestimate, nor am I unappreciative of the huge effort that those responding to crime and antisocial behaviour put up with on a daily basis.

“The fact is though, the behaviour of a few idiots threatens to make our community question their safety in their own city and that’s something I am certainly not okay with.”

The City of Mandurah failed to respond to questions about the budget for security in the mall prior to this article’s publication.

Photo: Mandurah Police.

At the weekend, Accord Security was witnessed patrolling the mall with up to five guards.

Mandurah Police kept an eye on things as they conducted foot patrols throughout the precinct.

The local policing team took to Twitter about the patrols and one incident in particular which saw a car impounded.

Police allege the Holden ute spun tyres in front of officers along the Mandurah Foreshore.

The ute was impounded for 28 days.

Tex Reeks

Texas (Tex) Reeks is a video journalist and national award-winning news photographer. Reeks' dedication and commitment to local news media and telling stories has seen him build an extensive portfolio in Western Australia's news industry from a young age. Writing online stories and covering news events for Perth's mainstream media networks, Reeks, has covered and broken some of WA's biggest breaking news stories including shark attacks, police manhunts, plane crashes, major crime investigations, and major political incidents. Reeks' interest and knowledge in criminology and policing results in his focus on crime and court stories.
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