New po­lice team to tackle youth crime

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

A spe­cialised po­lice unit de­signed to ad­dress the root causes of youth crime has joined the Pil­bara District Po­lice force for the first time.

Six youth crime in­ter­ven­tion of­fi­cers joined the force last month as part of a WA Po­lice youth polic­ing ini­tia­tive that has been grad­u­ally rolled out across the State over the past five years.

Four of­fi­cers are sta­tioned in Kar­ratha and an­other two are in South Hed­land.

Pil­bara District Po­lice en­gage­ment and sup­port of­fi­cer-in­charge Kal Green­away, who is over­see­ing the new unit, said there was a need for po­lice with a youth spe­cial­ity in the re­gion.

“Around 80 per cent of re­ported crime in the Pil­bara is ju­ve­nile-re­lated, so it makes sense to in­tro­duce of­fi­cers into the district with a spe­cific fo­cus on youth and their of­fend­ing and try­ing to di­vert them away from crime and into crime di­ver­sion­ary pro­grams,” she said.

WA Po­lice Act­ing Se­nior Sergeant of youth polic­ing op­er­a­tions Leona Lid­de­low said the of­fi­cers would be work­ing closely with lo­cal youth cen­tres, govern­ment de­part­ments and com­mu­nity not-for-prof­its to pro­vide a holis­tic ap­proach to coun­ter­ing youth crime.

“The of­fi­cers’ role is to proac­tively en­gage with the youth and to ad­dress the risk fac­tors of them of­fend­ing,” she said.

“The over­all aim is to de­velop strate­gies to ad­dress com­plex youth polic­ing is­sues. So we want of­fi­cers to proac­tively en­gage with kids that are caus­ing the prob­lems, but also to es­tab­lish and main­tain part­ner­ships with other gov­ern­men­tal and non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

“It has to be a multi-agency ap­proach to come to a so­lu­tion.”

Sen Sgt Lid­de­low said feed­back from agen­cies in­volved with the youth po­lice units was “very proac­tive, very pos­i­tive”.

In the Pil­bara, the Kar­ratha Sal­va­tion Army is one of those agen­cies and cap­tain Niall Gib­son said he wel­comed hav­ing a spe­cialised youth squad on the district po­lice.

“They’ve got more po­lice here be­cause of it, so I be­lieve it’s a good thing and a wor­thy thing for up here,” he said.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Pil­bara District Po­lice Se­nior Sergeant Kal Green­away with new youth crime in­ter­ven­tion of­fi­cers Se­nior Con­sta­ble Gerry Pilk­ing­ton, First Class Con­sta­ble Char­lie Len­non and Con­sta­ble Adam Le­vak at the Kar­ratha Youth Shed skate park.

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