Labor calls for 24-hour police station
OFFICERS ALREADY OPERATE ALL DAY, SAYS MINISTER
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.”