Riot in 'Australia's Best Town'
SATURDAY night’s riot in Yamba, in which a police vehicle was torched and 15 people arrested, was the talk of the town yesterday as residents and business owners were left asking how such a thing could happen in ‘Australia’s Best Town’.
The call for more police resources was unanimous as was the concern that a few troublemakers could quickly sour Yamba’s prestigous family-friendly reputation.
“We don’t want to become a town that’s got a reputation where it’s not safe to be out at night,” said Yamba retailer Scott Morschel.
Yamba Chamber of Commerce president Daniel Reeves said Saturday night’s riot and last week’s serious assault atop Yamba Hill were two of many concerning incidents which have occurred in Yamba recently.
“The crime is happening thick and fast and there are stories everywhere, whether it be break-ins, which are not always reported or assaults,” Mr Reeves said.
He encouraged citizens to report all crime incidents to police to help build the case for more police resources.
Mr Reeves said the aim of the petition currently being circulated in Yamba was to increase the Valley’s police strength to allow two police cars to patrol the area instead of the current situation in which only one vehicle patrolled the entire Valley most nights.
This, he said, would effectively halve response times in the area and make policing more effective.
He said there was no point refurbishing the Yamba police station, which had occurred recently, unless there was adequate staff to man it.
“It’s left unnattended for hours on end at any time night or day,” Mr Reeves said.
“If someone is in the lock up there and there is a callout, police have to respond with only one officer.”
Mr Reeves said police officers working in Yamba were doing a great job, but there was simply not enough of them.
Grant Dwyer from Yamba’s Fernando Surf Company expressed concerns about the level of parental responsibility at Saturday night’s party turned riot.
“The fact that they think they can get away with throwing things at police astounds me,” he said.
Retailer Leanne Spears from Emerge on Coldstream, which opened in November last year, said she was embarrassed when she saw the incident televised on national news on Sunday night.