Local leaders have slammed a call from police’s top brass calling for the same harsh Carnarvon-style liquor restrictions for 25 regional communities across WA, including five Mid West towns. In a seemingly leaked letter from WA Police Deputy Commissioner Allan Adams to WA director of liquor licensing Lanie Chopping, the deputy says 25 regional towns deal with more alcohol-related crime than Carnarvon and, arguably, should be under similar booze bans to the Gascoyne town. Ms Chopping is considering escalating Kimberley-wide alcohol restrictions in Broome and Derby after the strict rules introduced in May led to a 40 per cent drop in crime in Carnarvon. In his letter, Mr Adams urged Ms Chopping to roll out similarly tough bans in towns across the Midwest-Gascoyne, Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields-Esperance regions. The letter listed 25 towns that recorded higher rates of alcohol-related crime than Carnarvon in 2022, including Morawa, Mullewa, Cue, Meekatharra and Mount Magnet. The others were Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra, Wyndham, Karratha, Marble Bar, Newman, Nullagine, Onslow, Roebourne, South Hedland, Wickham, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Laverton, Leonora, Norseman and Wiluna. “Based on the elevated crime data for Carnarvon, this sets a benchmark for what can be considered unacceptable levels of alcohol-related harm,” the letter reportedly said. “Therefore, consideration should be given to implementing alcohol restrictions on any locality suffering higher rates of alcohol-related harm than those experienced in the town of Carnarvon.” According to crime data, total alcohol-related offences in Morawa were 1.4 times higher than in Carnarvon, and they were 1.5 times higher in Mullewa. When it came to alcohol-related family assaults, the rates were 2.9 higher in Mullewa and 1.4 higher in Morawa than in Carnarvon. Morawa Shire president Karen Chappel said crime statistics were minimal in the Mid West town and the calls were “utterly ridiculous” and “totally unreasonable”. “I have a very good relationship with our police. At no stage have our police come to me and said, ‘Karen, we’ve got a problem’,” she said. “The suggestion that our crime is 100 per cent worse than Carnarvon is unbelievable, because it’s not. “What is very frustrating is the slur that it has on our community. We wish to encourage visitors, we wish to encourage people to move to our community, and something that infers that we have a high crime rate is quite offensive.” The Mid West town has one bottle shop that operates on weekdays and Saturdays until noon, and another two licensed premises running under minimal hours. Bottlemart Express owner Peter Thornton said it was a knee-jerk reaction and he wouldn’t be able to operate his business if harsh liquor restrictions were introduced. “I can’t believe how we’d ever be associated with any of the mess going on up north,” he said. “I’d like to invite them here to this town and just see how they go walking around at night-time. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.” “I mean it’s hard enough out in these small towns to make a living as it is. It’s just the Government putting one more nail in the coffin.” City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Jerry Clune said it was disappointing the whole Mullewa community could be affected because of a few who were causing problems. “Mullewa is about 8 per cent the population of what Carnarvon is, so you only need a couple of events during the year to throw statistics out to make them look skewed,” he said. “The responsible people who use alcohol wisely are going to be impacted, and that’s by far the majority rather than the minority who are running amok.” In an interview with 7 Regional News, Mullewa’s Railway Hotel owner Demetrios Christoforou said the pub closed at 10pm every day to minimise harm in the community. He said restrictions would only result in the local business closing down while people made arrangements to pick up alcohol elsewhere. “I’ve been here for 15 years and when they do put restrictions on (for) funerals, people in town just pool their money, get one or two cars, they go to town, buy all the alcohol and bring it back,” he said. “Unless police are stopping the cars coming in from Geraldton, it has no effect apart from affecting the business in town.” A Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries spokesperson said the independent Ms Chopping had not sought the letter, nor would it affect her deliberations. “The Director (of) Liquor Licensing received unsolicited correspondence from Acting Police Commissioner Adams regarding alcohol-related crime and a range of other matters across Western Australia. The letter does not form part of considerations in the current S64 (Section 64) inquiries,” they said. “The DLL has two open S64 inquiries into whether to impose liquor restrictions on licensees in Broome and Derby. There are no other open inquiries.” A WA Police spokesperson said Commissioner Col Blanch had provided crime statistics from across the State to assist Ms Chopping in making any assessments or decisions. Mr Blanch told 6PR he was already on the record as supporting broader preventive restrictions such as those already in place in Carnarvon. Shadow racing and gaming minister Peter Rundle called for clarity. “The State Government was talking about liquor restrictions in Broome, but it now appears that was just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “This broad-brush approach by WA Police comes without consultation with local communities and businesses, and would have significant implications, particularly in major regional centres such as Kalgoorlie, Karratha and South Hedland. “The State Government needs to make its position clear on this matter.” Under some of the toughest restrictions in the country, takeaway sales are banned in Carnarvon on Sundays and Mondays, and limited to between midday and 7pm on other days. On those days, each customer is only allowed one carton or 11.25 litres of beer with an alcohol content up to 6 per cent, two bottles or a 1.5-litre cask of wine, or one litre of spirits.