THE $21 million new police station at Cockburn Central is likely to force the closure of the ageing one on Rockingham Road, after comments by the Police Commissioner.
Commissioner Karl O’Callag-han was responding to questions from Cockburn MLA Fran Logan during last week’s Assembly Estimates Committee meeting.
“As Commissioner of Police I have advised government that I will not run a policing service out of a building that is not suitable to run a policing service out of,” he said.
“We have to look at the age of that building and the actual cost and complexity of upgrading it.
“The reason we are building a new place at Cockburn Central is that some of our infrastructure in (Spearwood) is not fit for policing.
“I am certainly not supportive of keeping that open.”
The building at Cockburn Central will allow WA Police to consolidate its District Management Team in Myaree, the Response Team in Bibra Lake and Cockburn police station officers on one site.
It will have space for 200 staff across shifts and is due to be finished at the end of the year.
It should provide a significant upgrade to the Spearwood station, which has room for just 27 staff.
Dr O’Callaghan said the new station would eliminate any need for the Spearwood station. “That has been my position all along,” he said.
The move to close the station has the backing of the WA Police Union.
President George Tilbury told the Gazette the South Metropolitan region needed modern facilities to deal with crime in the area.
But Mr Logan said he was surprised by the Commissioner’s “determination” to have the Spearwood base closed down.
“Residents in the western area of Cockburn, particularly Coogee, Spearwood and Munster, will take some convincing that a police presence will be as good or better with the moving of officers and staff to Cockburn Central,” he said.
“Spearwood police station has been around a long time. Its closing will create a great deal of angst.”
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the new facility at Cockburn Central was vital given the population growth within the city and neighbouring councils.
But he was also in favour of the Spearwood station being retained.
“While there are significant benefits in centralising facilities, it is also important to remember the community’s expectations that their local police station is better placed to respond to local incidents,” he said.
“Hence the need for the Cockburn police station in Spearwood to continue to operate in addition to the new facility, especially given the significant increase in population that is taking place along our coastline and in adjoining suburbs such as Coogee, Spearwood, Hamilton Hill and Munster.”