Local News

Police and Council work together to manage Fisher Park space

Clarence Valley Council is collaborating with Grafton Police and other community stakeholders to manage community facilities at Fisher Park Skate Park, Grafton in order to create a safe and vibrant space.

Two shipping containers retrofitted to provide youth services were installed at the skate park in November 2020 and painted during Clarence Valley Youth Week in April as part of the Out of the Box youth program.
“Council and Police are working collectively with several government agencies and organisations to facilitate a plan to make the space safe,” Clarence Valley Council Acting General Manager Laura Black said.
“The Out of the Box youth program provides a soft entry point for service providers to have direct access to young people at the coalface of their community.”
However, on 24 May Council temporarily removed the two containers for repairs due to malicious damage.
The decision for the removal was made in consultation with the police, implementing a “safer by design” principle according to Coffs Clarence Chief Inspector Joanne Reid.
“There has been an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour at the skate park over the past three months,” Coffs Clarence Chief Inspector Joanne Reid.
“Part of crime prevention from a police perspective is to make the space safe by not only conducting patrols and enforcements, but also altering the physical space by a safer by design principle.
“Grafton Police want to work with Clarence Valley Council to find better ways to make the skate park safe for everyone to enjoy, much as we’ve done in other spaces in the Clarence Valley.
“The presence of large groups can intimidate or frighten other youths, and the skate park is a space for all people to use; not just one particular group.
“But it’s not just a police problem or a council problem; it’s a community problem, and as a community we’ll solve it.”
Since 2021 Council has promoted passive surveillance with the slogan: “If you see something say something” in response to anti-social behaviour.
“We encourage anyone who witnesses anti-social behaviour or malicious damage to report it to the Police,” Ms Black said.
People can report incidents to Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000 or Police Assistance Line on 131 444.
Clarence Valley Youth Hubs is one of the organisations collaborating with Council and utilising the space at Fisher Park, with a breakfast club and afternoon drop-in held every Wednesday.
“The Out of the Box program has been well received and about 100 young people came along during Youth Week,” Clarence Valley Council Community Youth Development Officer Allira Newton said.