WA Police acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel spoke at a recent Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association meeting after the group raised concerns about the changes.
With him on the night were acting district Superintendent Steve Post, Yanchep Sergeant Jason Macander and Inspector Gary Lewis, who will head the district’s local policing team when changes take effect on December 1.
‘For those of us who have been coppers for a long time, it’s really exciting,’ Mr Steel said. ‘It gives us greater control in terms of the way we deliver our resources.
‘What you see when you call for police won’t change a lot (but) our ability to respond to what matters to the community changes a lot.’
Mr Steel said the demand for police services was growing considerably, with calls for help expected to increase from 900,000 a year to more than 1.2 million this year and 1.5 million next year.
He said WA Police was the only government agency to increase staff, but they would not be able to recruit enough officers or cover costs to match demand.
Praising the sense of community in the area, Mr Steel said Yanchep Police operated in a similar way to the new model, with the officer-in-charge aware of local issues.
However, he said generally policing lacked a triage way of prioritising responses and paperwork tied up a lot of officers’ time.
Mr Steel said the 550 officers within the north-west metropolitan district would split into response teams and local policing teams.
‘When you call and when you need to discuss a local policing issue, you won’t have to explain it to a completely new person,’ he said.
Mr Steel said local policing teams would be responsible for each suburb and mobile numbers for teams would be provided.
In the district control centre, he said there would be a senior sergeant on duty to prioritise calls for help and make appointments.