Police Minister brushes off criticisms

POLICE Minister Liza Harvey has touted Operation Sweep a success, despite Opposition claim police are struggling.

Operation Sweep was launched by WA Police in July following an unseasonal rise in crime.

At the launch of the operation, Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brown said crime in the metropolitan area was up by 19.6 per cent across a range of categories in July, 2015, compared to July, 2014.

Ms Harvey said nearly 7000 people had been charged since the operation was put into place.

“We had resources to pull 1000 police officers out of operational areas into a special operation targeting crime hotspots and volume crime in the four (metropolitan) districts and they have had outstanding results,” she said.

But Opposition police spokeswoman Michelle Roberts labelled the operation a cheap stunt.

“Liza Harvey’s latest stunt is the so-called Operation Sweep, which doesn’t have one cent of additional resources for our police,” she said.

Ms Roberts said last month domestic assaults increased by 38 per cent, home burglaries were up 21 per cent, motor vehicle theft up 19 per cent and non-dwelling burglaries up 26 per cent.

“Tough talk is useless if you can’t catch the crims in the first place,” she said.

Ms Harvey also responded to the WA Police Union’s concerns about the number of detective vacancies after 50 jobs for police detectives were advertised.

President George Tilbury said the WAPU brought this issue to the attention of WA Police on several occasions over the last year.

Ms Harvey said it was not a funding problem and the issue was not a crisis.

“I don’t believe so; certainly the commissioner hasn’t raised it with me,” she said.