End of an era for stalwarts

Sergeant Bob O'Sullivan with Butler Neighbourhood Watch manager Dave Mallett and other Neighbourhood Watch representatives. Picture: Emma Reeves d402294a
Sergeant Bob O'Sullivan with Butler Neighbourhood Watch manager Dave Mallett and other Neighbourhood Watch representatives. Picture: Emma Reeves d402294a

The volunteer groups met on Wednesday, June 5, as the WA Police community engagement division ended its financial support for the program in a bid to shift online.

At a State forum last November, Neighbourhood Watch WA director Bernie Durkin announced planned changes to the program, which included removing all existing positions of street representatives and suburb managers.

He said at the time that residents could sign up to Neighbourhood Watch by email and the officers in charge of local police stations would send out regular email updates.

Butler branch manager Dave Mallett said it was disappointing to let go of his role after a decade of voluntarily keeping an eye on his streets.

‘It’s very disappointing for the community that Neighbourhood Watch has been canned after about 30 years (in WA),’ he said.

‘With the increase in crime that’s been going about, it is a bad decision to be made ” it is the community that will suffer.’

District Police Superintendent Charlie Carver said North West Metropolitan police stations were using Twitter and Facebook to warn residents and seek their help with investigations.

Mr Mallett said residents who did not have access to the internet or email, particularly older people, would be excluded.

Neighbourhood Watch State co-ordinator Yolanda Zec said they were piloting the eWatch system in the North West Metropolitan and Wheatbelt police districts to user test the technology, ensuring it was robust, user friendly and engaging.

Police expect to roll out the system statewide in September, with the launch at this year’s IGA Perth Royal Show.

The Butler and Ridgewood branch of Neighbourhood Watch will hold its last meeting on June 17.