Safe but still work to do: Joondalup

THE North West Metropolitan District is the safest area in WA, police told people at a community forum in Joondalup this month.

WA Police Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brown said he had lived in the area since the ’70s when his family moved here.

“This district is the safest district to live in, particularly from a personal crime perspective.”

Mr Brown said the district also rated third best when it came to property crime.

He said the current policing model, introduced last year, focused on local issues.

“Eight hundred police officers are now dedicated to the suburbs where you live,” he said.

“Police officers work just in the sub-districts like Wanneroo, get to know the offenders. Simply arresting more people won’t make some of those more complex problems go away.”

Mr Brown said a six-month review had shown police were on the road about 10 per cent more as a result of the restructure, with the increased presence up 18 per cent on Fridays and up 22 per cent on Saturdays.

He said there were also benefits for police officers, with a reduction in sick leave, but called on the public to do its bit as well.

“In more than 30 per cent of all burglaries, an offender enters an unlocked door or window.”

District Superintendent Allan Adams said despite the district being WA’s safest, police would not rest.

“We are not happy with the state of play at the minute; it can be better,” the Karrinyup resident said.

Supt Adams said police were working with various government and non-government agencies to address issues, including engaging with schools.

He said they were working with shopping centres to make them less susceptible to crime.

The district chief said police were also trying to address issues with illicit drugs, particularly methamphetamines.

Supt Adams said there had been about 1700 drug-related arrests in the district so far this financial year, compared to 1252 from the same period last year, a 35.7 per cent increase.

“The amount of illicit substances we’ve taken off the streets is immense and that has to have an effect,” he said.

Police Minister Liza Harvey talked about changes to legislation aimed at protecting police officers who were bitten by people, and minimum sentences for burglars who committed assault or sexual assault during break-ins.

She said the introduction of an anti-graffiti taskforce had reduced the number of graffiti reports.

She said community feedback indicated people want those convicted of graffiti to have to clean it up as a deterrent, and so they would have to spend 10 hours doing it as community service.