Police focus on families

Karl O’Callaghan speaking at the Wanneroo Council Chambers last week.
Karl O’Callaghan speaking at the Wanneroo Council Chambers last week.

Speaking at a community forum in Wanneroo Council Chambers last Thursday, Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said problem families caused a significant drain on police resources.

‘We have far more problem families on our books than we did 20 to 30 years ago,’ he said.

Mr O’Callaghan made the reference as part of his explanation of the new policing model, which will come into effect from December 1.

‘We have structured our police force so it’s able to get to the problems and stop them in the first place,’ he said.

The new model will focus on three teams ” the response team, local policing team and detective team. The response team will focus on call outs, while the local police teams will focus on issues that may be simmering in the district such as problem households.

Mr O’Callaghan said it was designed to free up response teams for more urgent matters rather than having them called to the same house on a regular basis.

The South East Metropolitan police district, which covers Kensington and Belmont down to Armadale and Mundijong, trialled the model with solid results earlier in the year.

Officers had been attending incidences with some problem families up to 300 times a year.

But Mr O’Callaghan said the refreshed approach helped improve the district from one of the worst for reported crime in Perth to the second best.

He also paid heed to the growing importance of social media in policing. The new model will have a sharp focus on Twitter and Facebook to engage the community in police work.

‘For the first time ever, it captures the community in the process of policing,’ he said.

‘You’re working with the police officers as they’re doing their work.’

As part of the restructure, Perth’s seven police districts will be cut to four with a minimum 550 officers in each zone. Mr |O’Callaghan said it was designed to create an equal demand for resources across the metro area.

As it is now, suburbs in the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo make up what police refer to as the North West Metropolitan District.

Mr O’Callaghan described it as one of Perth’s best in terms of crime levels.

After December, the district will extend down the coast through Scarborough and Cottesloe to Mosman Park. It will grow east to include Mirrabooka and Morley, whereas it currently ends at Alexander Heights.

Superintendent Charlie Carver will head the new local model.

Sixty officers will be brought into the district as the State Government aims to increase metro police numbers by 550 over the next three years.

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