Re­form proves pos­i­tive

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page -

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.”

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d408479

In­spec­tor Mark Ri­d­ley and for­mer South East Su­per­in­ten­dent Dar­ryl Gaunt at the be­gin­ning of the six-month trial.

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