La­bor calls for 24-hour po­lice sta­tion


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION - Tim Slater

LA­BOR’S Fed­eral can­di­date for Swan, Tammy Solonec, has called for the Bel­mont po­lice sta­tion to be open 24 hours a day to im­prove po­lice re­sponse times.

Ms Solonec said crime rates in the South-East Metropoli­tan Dis­trict had in­creased by al­most 11 per cent in 2014-15.

She said there were 40,266 of­fences com­mit­ted against a per­son or prop­erty in the dis­trict, com­pris­ing more than 25 per cent of all crime recorded in the metropoli­tan area for 2014-15.

“There are ar­eas in the metropoli­tan area with lower rates of crime than we ex­pe­ri­ence lo­cally that have 24-hour po­lice sta­tions,” Ms Solonec said.

“A 24-hour Bel­mont po­lice sta­tion will lead to faster re­sponse times and a stronger lo­cal pres­ence,’’ Ms Solonec said.

“Also, a smart early in­ter­ven­tion ap­proach to polic­ing will lead to safer com­mu­ni­ties.”

The State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments had “taken the lo­cal com­mu­nity for granted for too long”, she said.

Can­ning La­bor can­di­date and for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer Barry Win­mar said a stronger po­lice pres­ence was vi­tal to keep­ing crime rates down.

“Peo­ple need to feel se­cure that a re­sponse will be quick if and when they need it,” Mr Win­mar said.

“Lo­cal res­i­dents I have been talk­ing to are com­plain­ing about high crime rates, and we know that crime does not just hap­pen dur­ing busi­ness hours.”

Bel­mont Com­mu­nity Group pres­i­dent Cassie Rowe backed Ms Solonec, say­ing it had been the group’s pri­or­ity since it was es­tab­lished three years ago.

“All cit­i­zens have the fun­da­men­tal right to safety and se­cu­rity in their own home and we be­lieve that a 24-hour po­lice sta­tion is es­sen­tial to crime re­duc­tion in Bel­mont,” Ms Rowe said.

But Po­lice Min­is­ter Liza Har­vey said the sta­tion was manned by po­lice 24 hours a day.

“This is a text­book ex­am­ple of Fed­eral La­bor can­di­dates be­ing com­pletely out of touch with what is hap­pen­ing in their com­mu­nity and mis­lead­ing res­i­dents,” Ms Har­vey said. “It speaks vol­umes about the can­di­dates, who call for 24-hour polic­ing in Bel­mont, when po­lice of­fi­cers op­er­ate out of Bel­mont po­lice sta­tion 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Ms Har­vey said it was more ef­fi­cient to have of­fi­cers in the street in­stead of sit­ting behind desks. She said a re­cent po­lice op­er­a­tion con­ducted from the Bel­mont sta­tion had re­sulted in 28 ar­rests, 47 sum­monses and 175 charges laid, so far.

The charges in­clude bur­glary, steal­ing, steal­ing mo­tor ve­hi­cles and pos­sess­ing stolen prop­erty.

As part of this op­er­a­tion 216 ve­hi­cles were also stopped, re­sult­ing in a fur­ther 81 charges.

“The best re­sult so far has been that nine pro­lific of­fend­ers have been de­tained and re­moved from the com­mu­nity,” Ms Har­vey said.”

“It’s typ­i­cal of La­bor to de­mand we pull our of­fi­cers off the street and put them behind a desk. That’s State La­bor’s polic­ing pol­icy and now it looks like Fed­eral La­bor has adopted that same failed ap­proach.”

And Swan MP Steve Irons be­lieved po­lice re­sources were bet­ter utilised by be­ing out and about.

“Hav­ing po­lice of­fi­cers behind a desk mean of­fi­cers would have to be taken off the road and off front­line duty,” he said. “The South East Metropoli­tan su­per­in­ten­dent as­sured me of­fi­cers will bet­ter ser­vice the Bel­mont area...on the road, on the front­line, rather than behind a desk.”

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