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Five areas, including Northbridge, will have protected entertainment districts in coming weeks

A new law banning violent offenders from the controversial entertainment district is due to come into force by the end of the year, but the Washington state government has said it will not release relevant police guidelines.

The bill, passed by the state legislature late last night, creates five “protected entertainment districts” covering much of Northbridge and Perth CBD, Fremantle, Scarborough, Hillarys and Mandurah.

The zone is labeled PEP in honor of nightclub manager Giuseppe “Pep” Laco, who was killed in a one-sided punch attack in Northbridge in 2020.

Under PEP, anyone convicted of a range of violent and sexual offenses, including drinking alcohol, is automatically banned from all precincts for five years after leaving prison.

A street lined with pedestrians and restaurants.
The government finalizes the regulation of law, including identifying exact areas.(ABC News: Kenith Png)

But there is another power that allows police to ban entry or exit for up to six months for “illegal, anti-social, disorderly, offensive or obscene behaviour.” [or] Intimidating behavior has raised concerns about the potential for unfair targeting of indigenous peoples in particular.

Regulations not yet finalized

More than two months after the law was first announced, Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said that some work still needs to be done before the law comes into force and that it will be done by the end of the year. said he hopes to be

A head and shoulders shot of WA Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti speaking outside the state legislature.
Tony Buti says the law will be effective if violence is reduced.(ABC News: Keen Burke)

That work includes finalizing the regulations to provide details on the law, including specific areas that will be PEPs.

Washington State Police are also required to provide officers with guidelines on how their powers will be used, but that information will not be made public.

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