The streets at night

Fremantle Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Belinda Cipri­ano and Leah Roberts

IT is 10pm on a Sat­ur­day and while most peo­ple are with fam­ily or friends, mem­bers of the Fre­man­tle Lo­cal Polic­ing Team 1 (LPT) and Cock­burn’s South Metro North­ern Re­sponse of­fi­cers are pre­par­ing to keep our city streets safe for the night. Rid­ing with Se­nior Con­sta­ble James Wil­son and Con­sta­ble Matt Sil­vester of LPT 1 as part of Oper­a­tion Night­safe, we were given a first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence at what hap­pens on our streets af­ter dark.

Not even 20 min­utes into our three­hour shift, of­fi­cers are called to an in­ci­dent where res­i­dents have heard an ex­plo­sion, can see smoke and a man’s legs hang­ing from a third-storey build­ing next to the old po­lice sta­tion.

Within min­utes, we ar­rive at the lo­ca­tion and are joined by fire­fight­ers and am­bu­lances.

Watch­ing on, it is an in­tense sit­u­a­tion but this crew has seen this sort of thing be­fore and han­dle it with the pro­fes­sion­al­ism you would ex­pect.

The man is taken to Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal for assess­ment, while the rest of the crew as­sess what has hap­pened.

In­side they find traces of blood and a fire ex­tin­guisher used to smash the win­dow.

More than an hour later we’re back on the streets and of­fi­cers take to the port city’s cap­puc­cino strip, where it’s well and truly in full swing.

Se­nior con­sta­ble James Wil­son and po­lice con­sta­ble Matt Sil­vester have not even fin­ished park­ing their car when they’re ap­proached by se­cu­rity from one of the es­tab­lish­ments, in­form­ing them there are re­ports some­one is walk­ing around with three knives on them.

It doesn’t take long be­fore the of­fi­cers and the rest of the crew are search­ing the man in ques­tion, the three knives are con­fis­cated and the man is is­sued with a move on no­tice.

What’s in­ter­est­ing in this in­ci­dent is the in­ter­rup­tion, id­iocy and drunken abuse given to the of­fi­cers while they’re do­ing their job.

Within 15 min­utes of this search, of­fi­cers were con­fronted by a man who had been pre­vi­ously is­sued with a move on no­tice.

Clearly in­tox­i­cated, it’s a sit­u­a­tion that could have es­ca­lated if not for the quick work of the po­lice who placed him in a van and took him to the sta­tion.

Dur­ing the same search, of­fi­cers are again con­fronted by two men, with one yelling he has been as­saulted by some­one down the road.

He is shortly af­ter­wards es­corted away by a group of male friends.

The im­por­tance of po­lice pres­ence, along with City se­cu­rity and Street Chap­lains is ob­vi­ous, with a high pri­or­ity on the safety of those want­ing to en­joy a night out.

These in­ci­dents were the main things wit­nessed in just over three hours, though there was the odd al­ter­ca­tion, street drink­ing ($200 fine), tourist selfie, breathal­yser re­quest, uri­nat­ing in pub­lic ($500 fine) and vom­it­ing sit­u­a­tion, which the of­fi­cers took in their stride.

Benny’s Bar and Café owner Ivan Dzeba, said he has seen a huge im­prove­ment on the strip.

“These guys (po­lice) do an amaz­ing job out here,” he said.

“They work with the se­cu­rity guys and street chap­lains and it has made a huge dif­fer­ence.

“I think Fre­man­tle has re­ally turned a cor­ner and it’s a great place to come and spend a night out.”

These of­fi­cers shared their sto­ries. Some work 12-hour days, only to back up it up the next day.

One of them was a sin­gle mum with three chil­dren, one a fa­ther of a 20month-old with an­other on the way and an­other a fa­ther-of-two who looked af­ter the com­mu­nity while the rest en­joyed Christ­mas Day.

Some­thing to think about next time you’re out and about.

A man pre­vi­ously is­sued a move on no­tice about to be placed in a van to be taken to the sta­tion.

Fire ex­tin­guisher used to smash the win­dow in the third storey build­ing. Fire trucks ar­rive at the scene of the first in­ci­dent.

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