POLICE Minister Michelle Roberts believes the new, dedicated Armadale Policing District was long overdue and will improve the quality of local policing.
The new Armadale district, which begins in July, is one of eight new metropolitan districts announced as part of the State Government’s sweeping changes of the police force.
Under the previous system, the Armadale region was overseen by the South East Metro District, based in Cannington.
Mrs Roberts said the new system would re-enforce the ‘local’ in local police.
“The old south east district based out of Cannington was not just the biggest, but also had the highest volume of callouts and crime,” she said.
“Breaking that district into two is a big advantage for the Armadale area.
“Police will get to know their local patch better, they’ll be deployed over a much smaller area so they’ll get to know trouble spots and they’ll get to know the people better.”
Mrs Roberts said doubling the number of districts from four to eight would shorten response times.
“One of the other problems of the old model is it effectively broke the police in half, with half the officers doing local policing and the other half part of response teams,” she said.
“Response times blew out and sometimes people were travelling from one part of the metro area to the other for individual responses.
“Now they’re responding over a much smaller area to improve response times.”
New Family and Domestic Violence Response teams will be situated in each district, an area Mrs Roberts said the Government prioritised.
“In each of those eight districts, they’ll be someone at sergeant level with a team of eight officers dedicated to dealing with domestic violence issues,” she said.
“The way things have operated in the past, different officers can show up at the same house and not know what’s going on before.
“This way, police can effectively monitor what’s gone on before and look at frequent callouts due to domestic assaults.”