Yarn yields results
An elders yarn in Roebourne has resulted in a concentrated police effort to rid the town of street drinking this month.
Roebourne has been synonymous with the deaths in custody debate, and consequently, for having a historically rocky relationship with the police and some members of the community.
However, the relationship has developed in a positive direction in recent years.
An elders yarn is held every few months in the town where some of the most respected men and women of the region speak of local issues while members of government departments, not-forprofit, and police patiently listen and speak when called upon.
At one of the yarns this year elders spoke of loud parties and rubbish in the street not benefiting the community.
So began Operation Maalik, Arabic for an angel in purgatory who dishes out hellfire, headed by Roebourne’s Senior Constable Jeremy Dickinson.
Sen. Const. Dickinson said after looking at statistics from June to August this year, there had been an escalating number of violent offences with the biggest contributing factor being alcohol and drug abuse, as well as antisocial behaviour which could escalate into assaults.
“Because of this we decided to see if we could reduce the number of assaults by targeting the minor offences,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of proactive patrols to identify hot spots early, seeing where parties are starting to kick up in the early afternoon and then just reminding people about the responsible consumption of alcohol.
“At the start of the op and prior (August) we started consulting with members of the community, and the vibe we got was people were sick of the amount of offences occurring in the streets.”
As of last week they had made 86 charges in total related to liquor, drugs, and antisocial behaviours.
There had also been 15 liquor infringements, 15 liquor cautions, and three court charges for liquor offences. Sen. Const. Dickinson said they were no longer seeing people walking around with open containers.
Roebourne resident of 45 years Angus Smith has brought his concer ns to the police in the past.
He said before the operation people would ring up the police when neighbours were playing music loudly on a weeknight and get a mixed result.
“You’d ring the police four or five times, and no answer,” he said. “Today things have definitely quietened down.
“Things have definitely changed — and for the better too … I walk every afternoon with my kids, and the pathways are clean.”
Mr Smith hopes the trend will continue and wants the community, police, and City of Karratha to continue working together to improve the town.
“The Roebourne police office had extra resources from the Pilbara District for the month-long operation. However, to keep momentum going, it will take both the community and local police working together.