20 November 2015
This time of the year sees numerous parties being held. The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act (PPRA) has specific legislation for Police to manage out of control events.
It is important for parents and children to be aware of their responsibilities if they are going to be hosting or organising a party.
Section 53BB prescribes an out of control event as: a gathering of at least 12 people, with at least 3 engaging in out of control conduct (section 53BB(1)(a) and (b) of the PPRA).
Out of control conduct includes things like trespassing, damaging property, disorderly conduct, fighting, doing obscene acts, making unreasonable noise, throwing objects to harm people, obstructing traffic, being drunk in a public place, minors consuming or possessing alcohol in a public place or breaking glass (section 53BC of the PPRA).
The out of control conduct must also cause, or be likely to cause, someone at or near the event to feel fearful of violence (to person or property) or substantially interfere with people’s right to enjoy a public place (section 53BB(1) of the PPRA).
This means if you are hosting a party and there are more than 12 persons in attendance, and three or more of those persons engage in any of the out of control conducts above, which cause, or is likely to cause someone at or near the event to feel fearful of violence (to person or property) or substantially interfere with people’s right to enjoy a public place, then your event falls under the definition of an out of control event and police can seek to utilise their out of control event powers.
Along with this legislation, new offences were also introduced.
A person who organises (i.e. anyone who is substantially involved in arranging, hosting, managing, advertising or promoting the event) an event that becomes an out of control event commits an offence (section 53BH(1) of the PPRA). However, if the person organising the event is a child, and the parent gave the child permission to organise the event, the parent of the child is instead liable for the offence (section 53BH(2) of the PPRA).
There is a defence under section 53BH of the PPRA if the person can prove that they took reasonable steps to prevent the event becoming an out of control event (eg. having appropriate parental supervision or crowd control, responsibly supervising the supply and consumption of alcohol including BYO, having arrangements in place to appropriately disperse event guests after the event, ending the event as soon as possible after persons who are not invited to the event (gate crashers) enter the place where the event is being held and not inappropriately promoting the event on social media).
It is important to note that if you are hosting a party, simply saying “it is BYO therefore I am not responsible for the alcohol consumption” is not acceptable. You, as the host, still have a responsibility to supervise the consumption of the alcohol, even if the event guests have brought their own alcohol.
It is also expected that you have arrangements in place for event guests to be dispersed after the event finishes. Simply letting them walk off from the event, leaves you open to being subject of this legislation if they then engage in out of control conduct.
The defence is there if you have made the appropriate arrangements, and the event guests simply don’t follow these arrangements.
There are further offences for gate crashers (section 53BI(1) of the PPRA) and persons in attendance who do not comply with police directions (section 53BJ of the PPRA).
For those found guilty of any of the above offences, there are new provisions under the PPRA for the court to order costs related to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) response to an out of control event (sections 53BH to 53BI or section 53BJ of the PPRA). Where the offender is a child who does not have the capacity to pay these costs, the parent may be called on to pay (section 53BM of the PPRA).
If you are planning to host a party or event, then before you send out invitations and begin inviting people, perhaps attend your local Police Station and speak to officers who can provide you with assistance specific to your event.
Senior Constable 11486
Highfields Police Beat
Ph: 07 4615 5309