Police overworked, says union

Julie Bellamy has relocated her office to the donated transportables because there are more cats than space at the RSPCA.
Julie Bellamy has relocated her office to the donated transportables because there are more cats than space at the RSPCA.

Union president George Tilbury said the district urgently needed more officers.

He said sick leave had increased and officers were fatigued from policing the ‘burgeoning area’.

‘Officers in the North West Metropolitan police district are under intense pressure,’ he said.

‘WA Police should make it a priority to increase the police-to-population ratio in this region before officers reach boiling point, decide enough is enough and leave.’

He touted an approximate district ratio of one officer to more than 1150 residents, compared with a metro average of one officer to more than 700 residents.

Based on these statistics, the district needed to increase its police numbers by more than 50 per cent to match the metro average.

But Mr Budge said there was no police shortage.

Crime rates in the local district had dropped by 4.9 per cent compared with this time last year, including a 14.2 per cent reduction in burglaries, he said, and therefore, district officers were policing the area effectively.

He said officers were not deployed based on population ratio, but deployed to areas of greatest need based on criminal activity.

‘For example, additional resources have currently been deployed to Armadale to target a rise in criminal activity in that district,’ he said.

‘While there is a number of police officers allocated to the North West district, they are also supported by a range of other units from across the metropolitan area.’

He had received no complaint from the union about fatigued officers or police working long hours.

‘Police are rostered across Perth to a standard 10-hour shift,’ he said.

‘The Police Commissioner has recently instructed all officers to obtain approval for working additional overtime.

‘This was to provide greater governance and ensure only necessary overtime was worked.’

A spokeswoman for Police Minister Liza Harvey said the State Government was on track to deliver its election promise of 550 new officers.