Apparently, the partying in WA is “out of control”! WA police have recently been provided with additional powers to manage these “gatherings”. The Criminal Law Amendment (Out of Control Gatherings) Bill 2012, amended the current Criminal Code and Criminal Investigation Act 2006 to not only give police more powers, but also give the courts the ability to order a person to pay compensation costs to the police for their response. The aim is to make party hosts more responsible, and to take actions to ensure their gatherings do not get out of control.
What are my responsibilities when hosting a party?
If you host a party you have a duty of care for the safety and wellbeing of your guests, and to ensure you minimise the potential harm to people and property, as a result of gate crashers and excessive alcohol consumption. If you are hosting a party for teenagers there are a number of resources found on the Alcohol Think Again website. As you are responsible if something happens to one of your guests at a party, it is important to prevent the party getting out of control. This can be achieved by limiting alcohol consumption, make sure that the distribution of invitations is controlled and don’t send out a blanket invitation through social media, engage security services, and register the party with the police. It is also important that you ring the police immediately when you believe the party is, or is likely to, get out of control, or gate crashes have entered your premises. For more information, call our Go To Court Criminal Lawyers Western Australia.
Why should I register the party with the police?
It is a good idea to register your party with the police, to assist in limiting liability if it gets out of control. This can be done up to 28 days prior to your party and is done by calling 131444 or registering online. You can also print and display the ‘This party has been registered with WA Police’ poster. The aim of the poster is to deter gate crashers and send a clear message that the police have been notified that a party is taking place. This does not mean that the police will provide security for your party, but means that they are aware of the event, and if able they can undertake a patrol of the party venues. It does not mean the police have automatic entry to your party, and will not come into your home unless there is a specific reason to do so. If necessary the police can enter your property to close down a party, request gate crashers to leave, and to resolve noise complaints.
What is considered ‘out of control’ and what offences can I be charged with?
An out of control party is one in which at least 12 people are attending and at least 2 of those people are engaging in specified conduct. This includes trespassing, damaging property, disorderly conduct, fighting, creating unreasonable noise, obstructing traffic and being drunk. If the police are called to a disturbance at your property and believe it is a result of an out of control gathering, then the person who organised the party has committed an offence. If you are a parent and have allowed your under 18 year old child to organise a party which becomes out of control, you have also committed an offence. Both of these offences carry a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment and $12,000 fine. If you are convicted you may also be ordered to pay all or some of the costs incurred by the police for attending. Juveniles who organise a party that gets out of control, who have not had parental permission, can also be charged.