Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas says he is ready to ‘fight’ for city’s safety

Headshot of Ben O'Shea
Ben O'SheaThe West Australian
Email Ben O'Shea
VideoA 15-year-old boy has been charged over a savage, unprovoked bashing which left a Perth-based soccer player critically injured and his UK parents scrambling to be by his side.

Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the community was “absolutely fed up” with the recent spate of violence in the city, after a brutal bashing on Sunday left 25-year-old soccer star Danny Hodgson fighting for his life in an induced coma.

Mr Zempilas admitted the City of Perth was currently waging a “battle” against underage anti-social behaviour in its nightlife precincts.

“Good people, behaving well, going out to have a good night ... should be able to do all of that safely ... and not run the risk of ending up in hospital because of some cowardly attack,” Mr Zempilas told The West Live.

“It’s totally unacceptable, and our community, quite frankly, is fed up with this sort of behaviour, absolutely fed up.”

Hodgson was on his way home following end-of-season celebrations with teammates when police allege he was punched from behind at around 1.55am Sunday morning near Perth train station.

A 15-year-old from Armadale was arrested on Tuesday in relation to the incident and will appear at the Perth Children’s Court later this month, charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

Mr Zempilas said an “undermanned” police rotation in the CBD has contributed to recent underage anti-social behaviour but hoped a plan by the McGowan Government and WA Police to add 100 additional officers to the Perth Police Station would “make a difference”.

“That’s the first step, but I think, bigger than that and larger than that, we do need to look at the social environment that sees young people ... decide that, on a Friday or Saturday night, or at other times, they’re going to jump on a train or maybe a bus, from wherever they happen to live out in the suburbs, and make their way to Northbridge, the CBD or around the train station,” Mr Zempilas said.

“They can’t get into licensed venues, they’re not old enough, so why is it they feel the need to congregate in the city, so there’s a social issue at play here.

“But, at that age, you have to ask the question, ‘Where are their parents?’”

Police also charged a 12-year-old Mount Lawley girl this week for her alleged role in a vile gang attack at Yagan Square on August 29, which left a mother of three in hospital with serious injuries.

“People are frustrated with the style of violence that’s been perpetrated and the nature of these crimes,” the Lord Mayor admitted.

“It is a battle, but it’s not a battle that we intend to lose, and I know personally, myself, it’s a fight that I’m up for because we want our city to be safe, we want our city to be vibrant and we won’t allow what’s happening at the moment to dominate.”

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails