Police bid to curb kerb crawlers

Inspector Noel Gartlan and Senior Sergeant Simon Hazell from Perth Police Station talk to Guardian Express editor Anne Gartner.
Inspector Noel Gartlan and Senior Sergeant Simon Hazell from Perth Police Station talk to Guardian Express editor Anne Gartner.

Central Metropolitan District Superintendent Paul Coombes said the area, particularly Smith and Stirling streets, was one of the most patrolled regions in Perth.

He said 72 hours were dedicated to patrolling the suburb in one week this month. Detectives, high visibility uniform patrols and traffic officers using number plate recognition software were all deployed to the area to tackle the problem.

‘As far as our district goes, it is one of our top priorities at the moment,’ he said.

Supt Coombes said despite street prostitution being an issue, the suburb had a low crime rate which was on a downward trend.

At last week’s council meeting City of Vincent councillors re-stated their dedication to tackling street prostitution in Highgate, asking for details on how potential CCTV cameras would operate.

They also agreed to put up signage in the area and begin community consultation ahead of the next council meeting on May 28.

Perth Police Station officer-in-charge Noel Gartlan said initiatives such as fixed cameras were a good deterrent but did not help in identifying ‘kerb crawlers’.

‘It would take massive resources to analyse those photographs and identify the reason why each person was in the area,’ he said.

‘For men, once they are issued a move-on notice and they understand it could go through the courts, we rarely see them again.’

Supt Coombes said stopping street prostitution was not simply a police issue.

‘The problem is, we can pour all our resources into it and it will calm down or displace it, but eventually they will come back to the area,’ he said.