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The first public housing safety officers (PHSOs) Australia-wide have commenced duties today in the Northern Territory, with 21 officers in total.
With 15 PHSOs in Darwin, and six in Alice Springs, should the new control measures be successful
This is the first initiative of its kind in the country and will provide an after-hours service and will work closely with the NT police.
However, minister for public and affordable housing, Chris Burns, said that those renting public housing do not frequently cause problems.
“We know the majority of our public housing tenants do the right thing, and the role of the PHSOs is to work collaboratively with tenants to maintain a safe and secure environment,” Mr Burns said.
The PHSOs have been trained in community engagement, information and intelligence gathering and on-the-job training around public housing complexes.
“The powers of the PHSOs will be wide-ranging. They have the power to direct individuals to leave our housing premises, issue a range of on-the-spot fines, tip out alcohol, seize dangerous items and issue banning notices.
“The PHSOs will work to reduce unwanted visitors and work closely with neighbours, support services and our police force to reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour and provide a safer housing environment,” he said.
Antisocial behaviour, by NT Government definition, includes engaging in acts of graffiti, vandalism, littering, violence and abusive behaviour as well as any action that is of annoyance to neighbours, including loud noise and music.
The PHSOs can also ban people from public housing for up to a year.