Northbridge

Graeme Butler

"To think that people are showing such lack of respect to themselves, who they're wanting to fight with and more importantly police, is totally unacceptable in this day and age" says Lisa Scaffidi.

This is Northbridge after midnight. Fights, drunken and anti-social behaviour. We spent the night on the streets with Perth's mounted police as they dealt with the problems plaguing the nightlife district.

From Northbridge the trouble spills over to Royal Perth Hospital where staff and sick patients are confronted with violent outbursts and drug and alcohol induced attacks.

In our Northbridge violence story we came across Kevin Roberts who'd had his teeth knocked out.

Today we caught up with Kevin who is still nursing a sore jaw and a facing a dental bill that could buy you a new car.

"It actually fractured the bones up the top and had a couple of bone fragments come out so they said I have to have a piece of bone removed from my jaw and actually implanted back up here before they can put a couple of titanium screws in and once they've done that they put the false teeth on top of that and that's $15, 000. $7, 500 per tooth. That's an expensive night out" says Kevin.

Kevin's attacker has not been caught. He says street cameras failed to catch the incident.

We showed our vision to Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.

The lord mayor says she believes improved transport is critical to curbing violence in Northbridge by allowing people leaving pubs and clubs to get home quickly.

"We need to have the trains working 24 hours particularly on Friday and Saturday. Probably not all that necessary in the early weeknights but during the Friday and Saturday. The old fashioned lets go out night that's when we need the public transport operating to a good" says Lisa.

A night rider bus operates from Northbridge and is partly funded by council. Its long term future is in jeopardy after criticism of it's restrictive hourly service and a wrangle over funding.

"There seems to be confusion about whether we're talking up to Christmas or into the New Year. What I've realised is that we need to have much greater consultation and discussion between the state government and ourselves to find a better long term solution" says Lisa.

Acting Superintendent Roger Beer from the central metro district is the cop in charge of Northbridge. He says when people are drunk and stranded they begin to cause problems and his staff are left to deal with it.

While better transport is one solution, it's only part of the answer. There's been talk of introducing plastic to replace glass wear in pubs, changes to trading hours and more venues for people to go to. So far the only solid change looks to be increased police powers to search for weapons and that will not only help Northbridge but Royal Perth Hospital which seizes an arsenal of weapons each year.

Paul Afkos has been involved with Northbridge for nearly 30 years. These days he heads up the business improvement group of Northbridge.

"We could beautify the streets, we could put enormous amount of police presence here that will not cure the problem. We have a cultural problem and we need to go back to the education process of our youth" says Paul.

For several years development in Northbridge has been in a state of flux waiting on a decision over the Northbridge link. Now things are moving forward.