Country model for policing

Speaking at the Wanneroo Business Association breakfast yesterday, North West Metropolitan District Superintendent Charlie Carver said crime was increasing when he last presented at a business breakfast two years ago.

Supt Carver said since then, crime rates had dropped to 15 per cent below the five-year average and was back at the figures seen in about 2007-08.

He said tightening budgets and a population growth prompted WA Police to review its operating model and would shift to more of a country model through Frontline 2020 from December 1.

‘We looked at the population growth, the calls that we have received and we looked at the change that we need to make,’ he said. ‘We are starting to get back to the grass roots.’

Supt Carver said one per cent of the population committed most of the crimes, so police were tasked with finding those people and spending time with them, ensuring they did not breach bail conditions.

Under the new structure, there will be four policing districts instead of seven, with the North West Metropolitan District covering the coastal suburbs from Two Rocks to Mosman Park, and east to Morley.

There will be 550 officers spread across the 10 existing sub-districts ” Yanchep, Clarkson, Wanneroo, Joondalup, Hillarys, Warwick, Mirrabooka, Morley, Scarborough and Cottesloe.

‘We’ve cut some of the numbers from Cottesloe (and) put them in places like Scarborough who are absolutely under the pump,’ Supt Carver said, adding numbers would also increase in Warwick and Clarkson. Local policing teams, made up of a sergeant and about six officers, would be responsible for local suburbs.

The superintendent said that meant people would be speaking to one team about issues in their suburb, unlike in the past where they might speak to several officers.

Detectives would be grouped at two locations, with 41 working out of Joondalup and another 41 at Mirrabooka.

Regarding domestic violence, Supt Carver said police had ‘almost become like a fire brigade’ returning to the same place week after week to ‘put out the fire’.

‘The victims do not know how to get out of that cycle,’ he said. ‘Most of the time they are male offenders. It’s a learned thing that needs to be sorted.’

Supt Carver said police would work with residents to address issues such as children not going to school, parental control, and to get rid of drug houses. 

“Sergeants and their teams will be made accountable for that,” he said.

“We need to look at the casual factors as well as the offenders.

His statistics about repeat offenders showed about 2 per cent of the population were victims for 41 per cent of property crimes, and about one per cent were victims for 59 per cent of personal crimes.

Giving Wangara as an example, Supt Carver said the business community, local government and police could set goals to reduce crime in the area, such as increasing security and CCTV coverage.

“It would save our resources going there, they could go elsewhere,” he said.