Call to co-or­di­nate ser­vices

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - By JON BAS­SETT

RE­TIR­ING Wa­ter Po­lice Se­nior Sergeant Greg Trew wants state gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to bring to­gether their sea res­cue ca­pa­bil­i­ties af­ter he re­tires from 33 years with WA Po­lice this week.

“The fu­ture chal­lenge is to align gov­ern­ment re­sources and ser­vices, in­clud­ing those in the de­part­ments of Trans­port, DFES, Fish­eries and Parks and Wildlife, so they co-or­di­nate, and then to­gether re­duce costs and im­prove ser­vices,” Sgt Trew (63) said.

A life mem­ber and for­mer pres­i­dent of City of Perth Surf Life­sav­ing Club, Sgt Trew got Depart­ment of Trans­port (DoT) staff to man com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Wa­ter Po­lice’s North Fre­man­tle head­quar­ters, sav­ing po­lice wages and putting DoT in con­tact with its pa­trol boats’ work.

Tech­nol­ogy, emer­gency bea­cons (EPIRBs), mo­bile tele­phones and skip­per train­ing have changed the job in his 10 years at Wa­ter Po­lice.

“Boats now carry EPIRBS and it’s manda­tory all around the coast, so when one is set off we now know there’s a prob­lem,” Sgt Trew said.

“We know where they are, and with the ad­vent of skip­pers’ tick­ets most peo­ple are more aware of the dan­gers of be­ing at sea.”

Af­ter join­ing as a 27-year-old in 1979, he had long pe­ri­ods in the foren­sic, sur­veil­lance and se­cu­rity man­age­ment sec­tions of WA Po­lice.

“I ap­plied for Wa­ter Po­lice when I saw a po­si­tion, and I was al­ways in­volved with the wa­ter and had a ba­sic boat coxswain’s ticket,” he said.

In WA at any time, Wa­ter Po­lice con­duct res­cues and searches, in­ves­ti­gate thefts, pro­vide ves­sels for other po­lice, and en­force recre­ational and com­mer­cial boat­ing law. Tragedy is a sad part of the job. “A cou­ple of years ago, a cou­ple trav­el­ling around Australia drowned at Coral Bay, leav­ing their two or­phaned kids on the beach, and deal­ing with that, when there are kids stand­ing on a beach while the rest of the fam­ily is spread around Australia, is a tough gig,” Sgt Trew said. There is also hu­mour. “We once had a re­port of some­one break­ing onto a boat, and promptly boarded it, only to find an amorous cou­ple ‘oth­er­wise en­gaged’, who hadn’t told the owner they were go­ing to use his boat in Mos­man Bay,” Sgt Trew said.

Mar­ried with four adult chil­dren, his im­me­di­ate plans are to “go to Indo for a surf with some geri­atric mates”, and a kite-surf­ing sa­fari to Sum­bawa.

Re­tir­ing Se­nior Sergeant Greg Trew with a framed present from Shore­line Marine Fab­ri­ca­tion of new pa­trol boats.

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