Call by union to make it harder to get bail

“Our members often have to work extra hours to catch these criminals red-handed, and it is difficult to make inroads into crime when the courts let them back out on the streets,” WA Police Union president George Tilbury said.

During the court appearances last month, it was alleged a Palmyra man (35) committed multiple thefts from cars and fraud using stolen credit cards in Mosman Park and the Fremantle area, and stole a bicycle from Cottesloe train station.

On February 20, he was arrested in Fremantle for breaching a curfew and bailed at Perth Magistrates Court the following day, several hours before being arrested for allegedly stealing mail at the Claremont Quarter shopping centre.

On March 3, Fremantle Magistrates Court agreed the man should remain in custody until he faced charges of allegedly stealing from a car in Bicton on March 2.

At the previous appearances, he was released on bail because of the petty nature of the crimes.

Police have questioned bail rules since they were ordered to tackle a claimed spike of up to 600 daily crimes across Perth – mainly family violence, burglaries, stolen vehicles and thefts – since the Frontline 2020 policing model started last year.

“Legislative changes to the Bail Act making it tougher to be granted bail would greatly assist,” Mr Tilbury said.

WA Law Society president Elizabeth Nedham said police had never presented statistics showing repeat criminals caused the crime spike.

In a review of bail laws several years ago, she said it was decided the onus should remain on granting bail unless it could be demonstrated otherwise, except for murder charges.

“The police have their say in the court why the person should not get bail, including their personal history, likelihood of committing another offence and likelihood of them being a flight risk,” Ms Nedham said. But a court will presume against bail if the accused person was on bail when they allegedly committed a serious Schedule 2 offence in the Bail Act.