Can­di­dates pitch ways to curb crime

Pilbara News - - State Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

More re­sources, pri­vate se­cu­rity, com­mu­nity polic­ing and drug strate­gies have been pitched to tackle the per­ceived rise in crime across the Pil­bara ahead of the State Elec­tion.

An­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour has been in the spot­light re­cently, par­tic­u­larly in South Hed­land where re­cent CCTV footage of a brawl out­side the shop­ping cen­tre re­vealed the scale of the prob­lem lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were deal­ing with.

Pil­bara Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers can­di­date Fiona White-Har­tig said she would push to set up pri­vate se­cu­rity pa­trols, as well as get more po­lice on the beat across the Pil­bara.

“I have been told crime has spiked 23 per cent over last year’s fig­ures in the City of Kar­ratha and I would ex­pect sim­i­lar, if not more, in Port Hed­land,” she said.

“The na­ture of polic­ing has changed dra­mat­i­cally — we need a higher pres­ence of po­lice to deal with in­tri­ca­cies such as do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and in­creases in drug abuse.

“We can’t keep bury­ing our heads in the sand. There needs to be a strong but holis­tic stance com­ing from all sec­tors of the com­mu­nity.”

Ms White-Har­tig said pri­vate se­cu­rity pa­trols would be a de­ter­rent to loi­ter­ing, which she said had been a ma­jor cause of al­co­hol-re­lated an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour re­cently.

She said al­though a part­ner­ship be­tween the liquor ac­cord and el­ders in New­man had curbed al­co­hol abuse, drugs re­mained a big is­sue.

Pil­bara MLA and WA Na­tion­als leader Bren­don Grylls said he did not be­lieve pri­vate se­cu­rity pa­trols would dis­cour­age an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

“I think it makes peo­ple feel slightly bet­ter, but I don’t think it makes much dif­fer­ence,” he said.

“Call­ing for more po­lice is a throw­away line from can­di­dates who haven’t ac­tu­ally had the job of run­ning the State. I think there is a big di­chotomy in ask­ing for more po­lice of­fi­cers and op­pos­ing a new revenue source that could ac­tu­ally pay for them.” Mr Grylls said he would an­nounce plans to boost ef­fec­tive­ness of com­mu­nity polic­ing ahead of the elec­tion.

La­bor Mem­ber for Mining and Pas­toral Stephen Daw­son said a good first step would be to change the lay­out of the South Hed­land shops where a taxi rank, ATM and bot­tle shop were right next to each other.

“It’s not just a case of more po­lice or bet­ter re­sourc­ing — it is also to do with bet­ter pol­icy,” he said.

Mr Daw­son said WA La­bor’s hard-line pol­icy on meth deal­ing showed the party was se­ri­ous about tack­ling drug use and crime.

“It is not an easy prob­lem to fix, but this mob has had eight and half years and they have done noth­ing,” he said. “I have sat out­side a house where peo­ple come and go — they are tax­ied in work vans to do what looks like buy­ing drugs.”

Mr Daw­son said La­bor’s pol­icy also fea­tured mea­sures to pro­vide bet­ter ac­cess to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and detox ser­vices for those com­mit­ting mi­nor of­fences.

Pil­bara Lib­eral can­di­date Mark Alchin said revenue may need to be pri­ori­tised away from var­i­ous projects to tackle what he de­scribed as a “priority is­sue”.

“Things are in cri­sis here — when you have such a high level of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, you need an in­ter­ven­tion strat­egy,” he said.

“That deals with the im­me­di­ate is­sue, but the broader fix is about get­ting these peo­ple once they have sobered up back into work.”

Mr Alchin said drug use was an is­sue right across re­gional WA.

Greens can­di­date Brent McKenna said the party would look to tackle the driv­ers of crime, such as drugs, rather than fo­cus­ing on penal­ties.

Pic­ture: Tay­lar Amonini

Po­lice on pa­trol out­side South Hed­land shop­ping cen­tre.

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