WA Police back trial

The six-month Frontline trial is halfway through in the district, comprising Armadale, Gosnells, Canning Vale, Cannington, Belmont and Kensington stations.

It has involved separating officers into teams, including Response teams that attend calls for help and thereby free local policing teams to concentrate on area-specific problems and problem families.

WA Police Union President George Tilbury said evidence from members was that the trial was causing fatigue and stress in officers, particularly Response officers.

‘Response teams are going from job to job and often do not have the opportunity to take specified breaks,’ he said. He said the union had been in constant contact with members taking part in the trial and would consult with them at its completion in April to ensure WA Police was aware of all issues.

Inspector Brad Royce from the WA Police Reform Team, formed as part of the trial, said response teams had to travel from task to task in busy times.

‘In exceptional situations where officers are unable to take a meal break, it is policy for a claim to be lodged and the officer paid in lieu,’ he said.

Insp Royce said overtime and missed meal break claims had actually reduced compared to the same period last year.

Frontline in the future
An extra 50 officers were brought in for Frontline, to ensure it had optimal staff levels. 

Insp Royce said reported crimes had now dropped four percent.

The number of times police have had to attend the worst 20 addresses in each sub-district dropped 43 per cent.

In terms of crime, the southeast is now in third place of seven Perth districts, instead of sixth.

Insp Royce said this was promising, but final numbers would determine whether Frontline would expand across Perth.

He did not respond to a question about how WA Police would sustain the ‘optimal’ staffing level if this happened.  

At the trial launch in November, Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said police would be reviewing how to do this.

Soon after, it was announced officers unfit for the street could access voluntary severance packages and new officers would replace them.

Mr O’Callaghan’s spokeswoman said last week 20/3 she could not reveal how many had applied but said the exits would be managed by March 31 as planned.

No other announcements have been made on other measures to free up officers.