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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Judicial Activism in the Northern Territory: A Crisis in Public Safety and the Security Response



A consistent uptick in criminal activity and what appears to be a lenient judicial system have been recent troubling trends in the Northern Territory of Australia. This phenomenon, stemming from what can be termed 'judicial activism,' has manifested in two critical ways, surges in criminals granted bail and a pattern of insufficient sentencing. The consequences are evident—a marked rise in personal safety crises on the streets of the NT.

One of the most significant issues is the increasing leniency in granting bail. This policy, presumably aimed at upholding the presumption of innocence, but more than likely due to department policies to reduce incarceration rates, has led to a situation where repeat offenders are often back on the streets, sometimes murdering the innocent within days of their release. This revolving door scenario not only undermines public trust in the justice system but also escalates the risk to community safety.

Similarly, the trend towards lenient sentencing for serious crimes has raised eyebrows and concerns alike. Instead of serving as a deterrent, these lighter sentences embolden criminal elements, contributing to a sense of lawlessness. The ripple effect is that the community is increasingly distrustful of the system's ability to protect them and uphold justice. Worse, this lack of accountability has been a beacon to outlaw gangs and organisations seeking to profit from the misery of others.

This situation places an extraordinary burden on security personnel. They are on the front lines, expected to manage the increased risks to public safety. These professionals, often trained in the principles of situational awareness and risk assessment, find themselves in a constant state of vigilance, tasked with protecting not just property but also the physical well-being of citizens.

The strategies employed by security personnel reflect a deep understanding of the psychology of criminal behaviour and the necessity of proactive measures. They encompass not just physical security but also an awareness of the social and environmental factors that contribute to crime. This holistic approach is essential in an era where traditional methods of law enforcement and security are continually challenged by evolving threats.

The situation calls for a reevaluation of the balance between judicial discretion and public safety. While the principles of justice and fairness must be upheld, there is an urgent need to reconsider policies that inadvertently compromise the safety and security of the community. The judicial system must find a middle ground that respects individual rights while recognizing the necessity of protecting society at large. Mandatory sentencing has been tied and failed; it is far more obvious that greater scrutiny be placed on constantly reviewing the actions and sentencing of judges and magistrates alike. With elections coming up this year (2024) it is obvious that those parties and individuals with platforms based on safety and security can have no effective plan without increasing the capacity of the prison system and the review, reform, or redundancy of several activist judges and magistrates.

The ongoing situation in the Northern Territory serves as a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of judicial activism. It highlights the need for a judicial approach that carefully weighs individual rights against community safety, and it underscores the critical role of security personnel in maintaining public order in challenging times. As society grapples with these complex issues, the need for a balanced, thoughtful approach to justice and security has never been more apparent. From the author. The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.


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