ARRESTED: A boy is led off Newcastle beach in handcuffs as police crack down on anti-social behaviour. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE police are ramping up efforts to combat youth crime on the city’s beaches after a series of disturbing incidents on the sand.
It comes after a galling case on Newcastle beach on Wednesday where a boy was handcuffed in front of hundreds of onlookers and marched off the beach and into a paddy wagon.
Moments before, he was accused of groping a woman in the water in front of her family.
The woman made a complaint to lifeguards and the boy was arrested shortly after 3pm.
The woman’s family was on the beach as it happened.
”It was really disturbing,” a witness said“This was a grown woman who was groped in the water in front of her husband. His mates were just standing around thinking this was normal behaviour.”
It is understood police were called to the same beach three times on Wednesday, when temperatures soared into the high-30s.
The next day police launched a task force to crack down on anti-social behaviour on Newcastle beaches.
A young boy is questioned by police as a security guard and lifeguard watch on. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Newcastle City commander Superintendent Brett Greentree said there would be increased patrols of uniformed and plain-clothed officers targeting unruly behaviour.
“We’re not going to tolerate this type of behaviour,” he said.
“We’ve commenced an operation targeting anti-social behaviour on the beach and that will continue throughout summer. The community will not accept anti-social behaviour.”
Newcastle City Council has also beefed up security on the beach and there are regular security patrols.
TheHeraldhas been told security has been hired on Newcastle beaches in the past to coincide with the school holiday period.
“It’s to ensure our lifeguards aren’t distracted from their task of providing water safety,” a spokesman said.
“In the past, we’ve found anti-social behaviour on the beach coincides with the start of school holidays.
A boy arrested on Newcastle beach. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
“We’re concerned by any anti-social behaviour on our beaches.
“We want our beaches to be a place for Newcastle residents and visitors to feel relaxed and safe.”
Veteran former Newcastle lifeguard Warren Smith agreed that unruly behaviour usually coincided with the start of school holidays.
“It’s disappointing that these sort of incidents happen,” he said.
“But it does happen and when it does, the powers-that-be at the council and police are usually pretty quick to stamp it out.”
The boy arrested on Wednesday is likely to be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.