Riot at notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre

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An overnight riot at Darwin’s notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre has allegedly resulted in a police officer being struck with a projectile and taken to hospital, while a building was also set on fire.

Emergency services were called to the centre about 4pm on Wednesday after 14 youths allegedly climbed onto a roof.

Northern Territory Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Martin Dole said the young people were throwing projectiles at emergency services and staff.

A police officer was allegedly struck and his leg was fractured on Wednesday night, before eight of the 14 youths on the roof surrendered.

A building at the facility was allegedly set alight but the extent of the damage was not specified.

The remaining six youths stayed on the roof overnight but by 9.30am Mr Dole said they had all been removed.

The facility was then put into lockdown.

The Serious Crime Unit were investigating the entire incident, including instances of criminal damage and the cause of the fire, Mr Dole said.

“Those young people are some of our worst-behaved young people in the territory. That’s why they are at the detention facility,” the Acting Deputy Commissioner said.

Media reports in 2016 showed spit hoods and restraint chairs were used at Don Dale.

A 2017 Royal Commission into the Territory’s protection and detention of children found children at Don Dale were thrown forcefully onto the ground — in some cases their heads hit the ground hard — in a tactic used by officers called ‘ground stabilising’.

“The inadequate facilities put children and young people’s health, safety and wellbeing at serious risk, and played a part in incidents that occurred at youth detention centres,” the Commission found.

The Royal Commission recommended closing Don Dale by February 2018.

Opening of a new centre to replace Don Dale has been repeatedly delayed.

“I want to wipe out of our lexicon and our language in the Northern Territory the word ‘Don Dale,” Chief Minister Eva Lawler said in February.