Wind­screen wash law made clear

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Como - Tim Mayne

WIND­SCREEN wash­ers on Can­ning High­way in Como are again un­der siege by lo­cal po­lice with nu­mer­ous $50 fines and move-on no­tices is­sued last week.

Bel­mont and Kens­ing­ton Po­lice have been tar­get­ing wind­screen wash­ers for the past 12 months af­ter re­ceiv­ing re­ports of as­saults on mo­torists and po­lice, graf­fiti, van­dal­ism and lit­ter in the ar­eas they op­er­ate.

The wind­screen wash­ers claim they are be­ing “treated like pros­ti­tutes” by po­lice and are only try­ing to earn an hon­est living.

Chris is 25-years-old and has been wash­ing wind­screens for nine years in be­tween his other job as a su­per­vi­sor in a weld­ing com­pany.

“We are just out earn­ing money and we are work­ing like ev­ery­one else, it is a job like any other job and when we do it we hold our heads high,” he said.

“We get sick of be­ing de­scribed as “an­i­mals or scum” in the me­dia, we treat this like a nine to five job and treat the mo­torists with re­spect, be­cause they are our cus­tomers.”

Chris says he can make up to $150 a day but it de­pends on how long he is there.

“Some­times we are here for only a few hours and may make a lot less than that or some­times we are here all day and make more, but if we stay here that long we de­serve the money,” he said.

When asked what he thinks about po­lice claims they are en­gaged in il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, Chris was quick to re­spond.

“We’re not break­ing into hous- es and the long-term wash­ers treat the job se­ri­ously. It is the younger ones who draw the at­ten­tion of the cops, kick­ing and scratch­ing cars and abus­ing old peo­ple, but none of us do that, we treat all our cus­tomers with re­spect, es­pe­cially the el­derly,” he said.

Chris said he used the money he earned to buy the ne­ces­si­ties.

“When we are short of money the mis­sus tells me to go out and earn and I use the money I make to pay rent, buy food and some­times a cou­ple of coldies if I am lucky,” he said.

Chris’ fel­low wind­screen washer 31-year-old Craig said peo­ple should not crit­i­cise them.

“It is a healthy, clean job and wind­screen wash­ing helps peo­ple who are un­em­ployed – the gov­ern­ment tells you to get a job and here we are work­ing,” he said.

“The po­lice should not be fin­ing us, it is to­tally un­fair.”

The South­ern Gazette sur­veyed mo­torists at the Can­ning High­way in­ter­sec­tion last Thurs­day with most mo­torists say­ing that they thought the po­lice fines were un­fair.

“God love ‘em!” said Julie from St James. “I think they do a pretty good job and they are do­ing a ser­vice. If I have a dirty wind­screen that needs a clean, I will gladly give them a few bucks. The po­lice shouldn’t be fin­ing them.”

Daniel from Suc­cess said he drove past the in­ter­sec­tion ev­ery day and be­lieved the wash­ers should be left alone.

“They are just do­ing what they have got to do – they are just try­ing to earn a dollar,” he said.

But Dil­lon from Bel­mont said the po­lice had ev­ery right to tar­get the wind­screen wash­ers and they de­served ev­ery­thing they got.

“They can earn $200 a day for do­ing noth­ing when I have to work hard for a living,” he said.

“They spend all their money on drugs and ev­ery­one knows it.”

Shel­don from In­gle­wood said while he did not think the fines were fair, he did have con­cerns some­times about the washer’s safety.

“It de­pends what the in­di­vid­ual washer is like and if they are watch­ing the traf­fic lights, I do get a bit wor­ried some­times,” he said.

“Over­all though I think they are OK, they are just try­ing to make a bit of ex­tra money and good on them I say.”

Kens­ing­ton Po­lice Of­fi­cer in charge Ash­ley Goy said both wind­screen wash­ers and the mo­torists who used their ser­vices were break­ing the law.

“It is an of­fence un­der the Road Traf­fic Reg­u­la­tions and we are re­quest­ing mo­torists not to use their ser­vices,” he said.

“Apart from com­plaints re­gard­ing vi­o­lence, lit­ter and van­dal­ism, our main worry is that it is a mat­ter of time be­fore a wind­screen washer is in­volved in a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.