Reform proves positive
POSITIVITY from police and politicians about the largestever WA Police reform is matched by south-east corridor residents, according to new research.
Frontline 2020 was launched a year ago after a six-month trial in the busy south-east district was heralded a success.
The Social Research Centre survey showed public satisfaction in the district had risen.
“The survey results are most encouraging, particularly as they have showed a sustained improvement over the past 18 months,” district Inspector Mark Ridley said.
For example, the number of people rating themselves ‘satisfied or very satisfied’ with their latest police contact had improved to more than 87 per cent, outstripping the WA average of 83 per cent.
The rating of confidence in police has improved to 87.9 per cent, the highest ever recorded for the district and again outstripping the WA average of 85.8 per cent.
There was a corresponding drop in crime: in 2014-15, burglaries were down 6.1 per cent on 2013-14, car thefts were down 12 per cent and robberies were down 27.9 per cent.
Inspector Ridley said while challenges remained, for example with stealing of- fences, which had risen 25.4 per cent for the Armadale subdistrict – contributed to by people leaving valuables in their vehicles, fuel driveoffs and minor stealing offences – the same trends were evident across the district.
The new model split officer roles into four: control centre, detectives, urgent response and ‘local’ police.
‘Local’ officers are freed from continuous tasking to target hotspots and problem families.
Residents can call local teams directly on dedicated mobiles to discuss local issues, while still using 000 for emergencies and 131 444 for attendance.
The idea is more intimate connections lead to problem solving.
The teams also now regularly hold community events such as ‘Coffee with a Cop’.
“I know from our South East Metro Facebook page there are some negative comments regarding the value of community engage- ment tools like Coffee with a Cop,” Inspector Ridley said.
“In our view, being able to liaise one-on-one in a venue like this makes people feel comfortable approaching us… we’ve had prosecutions arise from information we’ve gathered at these.
“Let’s face it, the police are the community and the community are the police.
“We rely on people for statements in court and for information, and without that crime reduction is impossible.”
Inspector Mark Ridley and former South East Superintendent Darryl Gaunt at the beginning of the six-month trial.