An app called the NT Anti-Social Behaviour has been created as a joint initiative between LNAC and the Northern Territory Government to make reporting anti-social behaviour easier in Darwin and Palmerston. Russel Wills was seconded from the Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet to LNAC and has been driving the development and rollout of the app.
“A reference group was established that included LNAC staff, the police, councils and NIAA to create terms of reference which were used to build the app, then we launched it for a trial period of eight weeks. The review indicated overall public support for the app with some minor changes. The app has been refreshed over the last 2 years to include some additional features to make it easier to report” said Russel.
Reporting is quicker and easier
Historically the public and the police would contact Larrakia Patrol through the 1800 number which goes through to the call centre. While the 1800 number is still the most popular way to reach the service, the app offers another way for people to make a report under four headings: public drunkenness, obstructing public access, welfare check and noise or nuisance.
“Reporting using the app can take 10 seconds and you don’t have to talk to anyone on the phone. Those who lodge a report are given a report number, which allows them to follow up on the report if they want to” explained Russel, who says he uses the app regularly. “The other day I was driving in the car, and I saw someone asleep on the footpath. I couldn’t make a report straight away, but the app has the function to be able to report something that happened 15 minutes, 30 minutes or one hour ago”.
The app highlights continued misunderstanding of Larrakia Patrol’s service limitations
The role of the LNAC Patrol service can sometimes be misunderstood and LNAC is hoping the app will help to improve public understanding about how LNAC Patrol works with NT Police and other frontline services providers.
LNAC Patrol play an important role to addressing anti-social behaviour but also provides critical referrals for people in need of health and social support. Whilst LNAC Patrols do not have powers to forcibly remove people or confiscate alcohol, what they do have is long established relationships with people and utilises cultural mediation and negotiation skills to diffuse situations and encourage people into seeking support.
This is further supported through the HEAL (LNAC Outreach Program) that works closely with patrols and provides transport and critical referrals to a range health and social support agencies through the day.
“It is important that people realise that while anti-social behaviour is unacceptable it is distinct from crime and is treated differently” says Russel. LNAC Patrol work closely with the police especially at night through the LNAC call centre to address issues and to divert people away from the justice system when they arise.
“I think LNAC doesn’t get enough recognition for their cultural engagement and relationships” said Russel. “From my perspective you can achieve a lot more through connections and relationships and through working in collaboration with governments and NGO’s to ensure improved outcomes for people”.
Download the app and use it!
Currently the LNAC call centre is receiving about 300 app reports a month through the app, but with a recent push to improve public awareness, there is an expectation reporting through the app will increase. The app is free to download from all app stores – search for NT Anti-Social Behaviour and you’ll find it.