Brawl ‘not typical’

THE chair of the Fremantle Business Association has played down a brawl between women in Fremantle last weekend, saying a lot of the brouhaha was fuelled by social media.

“This was an incident which we certainly need to be aware of but at the same time it is not a common occurrence as portrayed,” says Ivan Dzeba.

Last weekend Zapfhall owner Rhett Pace posted a video on Facebook showing a woman getting kicked in the head during a drunken brawl below his business.

In an emotional post he said anti-social behaviour on the strip had reached tipping point, despite Freo council’s zero-tolerance policy.

• Mr Pace’s images of the brawlers.

• Mr Pace’s images of the brawlers.

“I have heaps of footage like this,” he posted.

“Not just from night time, but first thing in the morning, lunchtime … alllll the time … I hear so many stories from local business owners daily about massive problems with the homeless and drug problems.

“People don’t want to hang around in a place where this anti-social behaviour is always going on.”

Mr Dzeba says despite Mr Pace’s comments, safety initiatives introduced by the council and police have been effective, which had been outlined in a meeting with concerned business owners this week.

“It was unfortunate that this played out on social media the way it did and it was never Mr Pace’s intention for it to happen this way.

“The antisocial behaviour issues are present in every city and Fremantle is not immune to it.”

Last year the council introduced a controversial zero-tolerance policy to anti-social behaviour, including rangers and police targeting public drinking and loud and intimidating behaviour and opportunistic and aggressive begging.

“The police have told us that the number of incidents on a Friday and Saturday night have steadily declined,” says mayor Brad Pettitt.

“We still have a way to go but we’re on the right track.

“Unfortunately, you will still get incidents like this occurring, but there not as common as made out.”

Dr Pettitt is still pursuing his plan for a six-month trial of keeping bottleshops closed until noon on weekdays.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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