New top cop is no stranger to Kar­ratha

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

It has been 34 years since WA po­lice of­fi­cer Paul Coombes first served in Kar­ratha, and with his ap­point­ment as the new Su­per­in­ten­dent of Pil­bara District Po­lice, there is a sense of com­ing full cir­cle.

“I spent a year here as a cadet as an 18 year old and have tremen­dously fond mem­o­ries of my time here, so it is spe­cial to come back,” he said.

With those times in­clud­ing play­ing foot­ball with the Kar­ratha Kats and at­tend­ing cy­clone par­ties, he is al­ready quite ac­cli­ma­tised to Pil­bara life.

Supt. Coombes has spent most of his po­lice ca­reer in the chal­leng­ing Perth ma­jor crime divi­sion that in­ves­ti­gates all homi­cides and re­portable sud­den deaths.

That in­cluded spend­ing seven years work­ing on a cold case re­view of the in­fa­mous Clare­mont se­rial killings.

Most re­cently, he served as the District Su­per­in­ten­dent for the Perth CBD and has over­seen State in­tel­li­gence.

Supt. Coombes said he was look­ing for­ward to do­ing some­thing “com­pletely dif­fer­ent” by head­ing up the Pil­bara po­lice force with a strong so­cial jus­tice fo­cus for the next sev­eral years.

“Re­gional polic­ing is some­thing that I haven’t done through­out my ca­reer,” he said.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to and I thought it would be a great op­por­tu­nity.

“I think there is so much that can be done, es­pe­cially with po­lice-in­dige­nous com­mu­nity re­la­tions. There has been some great work done, but I think that we still have a lot of work to do.

“The Pil­bara it­self is so unique and so di­verse, that it is just re­ally in­ter­est­ing and some­where I’ve al­ways wanted to come back to.

“Al­ready I’m en­joy­ing the more re­laxed life­style here.”

Supt. Coombes said over­all, crime sta­tis­tics in the Pil­bara were steady and po­lice per­for­mance was good, but he par­tic­u­larly wanted to fo­cus on coun­ter­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, which re­mains a prob­lem in the district.

“It was an area when I was at ma­jor crime — do­mes­tic vi­o­lence homi­cides are very preva­lent ev­ery­where, Aus­tralia-wide, and in this day and age it is some­thing that should not oc­cur to the level that it does,” he said.

“But it’s not just a po­lice is­sue. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­volves the com­mu­nity, so­cial, health and education (fac­tors), and all Govern­ment agen­cies need to work closely to­gether to try to achieve some out­comes.”

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