Police hooked on new policing model

Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan announced he would slash metropolitan police districts from seven to four, each manned by a planned 550 officers, last week.

Mr O’Callaghan said a six-month trial of a new operating model in Perth’s south-east corridor reduced crime and pressure on police resources, and increased public satisfaction, with officers given greater emphasis on local issues.

Officer numbers for the new regime have not been decided, after the May 8 State Budget indefinitely shelved a western suburbs police hub.

The Wembley police sub-district, excluding Floreat and City Beach, will be a new Central East District with Perth, Bullsbrook and Midland.

The former Cottesloe police subdistrict, including Dalkeith but not neighbouring Nedlands currently policed by Wembley officers, would be absorbed into the new North West District stretching from Two Rocks south to Mosman Park.

Cottesloe and Wembley stations are expected to remain, while Claremont-based detectives could be split between the two new districts.

Asked why unusual borders such as Dalkeith, were not altered in the new operating model, a police spokesman said changes were based on getting an equal number of officers in each new district, demands for police resources, keeping previous policing structures, and not geography.

The spokesman said local police teams would have one or two suburbs on which to concentrate, while mobile officers from two large locations in the new districts answered calls for immediate help. Whether the western suburbs received any of the 146 extra officers allocated for all of Perth depended on demand.

Opposition Police spokeswoman Michelle Roberts called the State Government’s changes ‘a cheaper model’ so officers did ‘more with less’.

She said that while 50 extra officers in the south-east bolstered the trial’s success, the model risked keeping the new districts understaffed, as was demonstrated by the Government saying in budget estimates that 100 police promised since 2008 would not start until December.