'Operation Sweep' renamed
By Sean Healy
PERTH — Barely three weeks after declaring the suspension of "Operation Sweep", the police intend to relaunch it under the new name "Operation Family Values".
"Sweep", begun in January, was aimed at taking people under 18 off the streets of inner city Northbridge and Fremantle. Ostensibly aimed at protecting young people in "moral danger", the operation was in reality a curfew victimising young people for supposed high crime rates.
The operation raised the ire of many sectors of the community, including youth workers, social justice groups and young people. In particular, the operation was deemed by many to be in breach of the Child Welfare Act, which stipulates that young people have to be taken immediately to their parents or to their school, not to police stations.
This criticism, plus widespread concern about the civil rights of young people, led to the operation being suspended temporarily at the end of March. Its "permanent" suspension on May 6 was justified by a supposed lack of personnel.
This now seems to have been a smokescreen for reintroducing the operation under a new, less draconian name. Conspicuously, the new operation does not extend to Fremantle — the site of the widest outcry against Sweep.