Youth crime, al­co­hol key is­sues for po­lice

North West Telegraph - - News - Sy­narah Mur­phy

The South Hed­land Po­lice Sta­tion wants to build key re­la­tion­ships. Craig Parkin

One of the re­gion’s most se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers has re­vealed plans to tackle al­co­hol con­sump­tion and youth crime in South Hed­land.

Four months into his new role as as­sis­tant dis­trict of­fi­cer, In­spec­tor Craig Parkin has iden­ti­fied and con­sulted with var­i­ous gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, ser­vice providers and the pub­lic.

“What is abun­dantly clear is the harm of al­co­hol in the com­mu­nity and the im­pact it has on fam­i­lies, po­lice re­sources and de­mand,” he said.

“The en­tire com­mu­nity must work to­gether to re­duce the harm.

“Our of­fi­cers reg­u­larly en­gage young peo­ple who are out at night as they have no safe place to go due to ef­fects of al­co­hol in the home en­vi­ron­ment.”

The State Gov­ern­ment is ex­plor­ing sev­eral ini­tia­tives such as a banned drinkers’ reg­is­ter to re­duce the harm of al­co­hol.

Insp. Parkin said although this would not en­tirely solve the prob­lem of al­co­hol-re­lated harm, it was an­other tool to en­sure peo­ple were di­rected to ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port agen­cies.

“We un­der­stand pro­hibit­ing the sale of pack­aged liquor dur­ing pe­ri­ods where there is in­creased risk of harm in the com­mu­nity is un­pop­u­lar, but as a com­mu­nity we must all take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” he said.

“Un­for­tu­nately there is no easy fix and we will en­sure any re­stric­tions are pub­li­cised and cause min­i­mal in­con­ve­nience to the pub­lic.

Insp. Parkin said po­lice were “do­ing their best” to con­trol an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour in the town as well as deal­ing with broader is­sues. “We see polic­ing de­mand on Sun­days has dropped sig­nif­i­cantly due to no al­co­hol sales.” he said.

Insp. Parkin said youth crime was al­ways a talk­ing point, par­tic­u­larly on so­cial me­dia.

He praised a num­ber of ex­ist­ing youth pro­grams and said po­lice had al­ready re­ceived “ex­cel­lent sup­port” from Hed­land Se­nior High School prin­ci­pal Bill Mann to­wards build­ing re­la­tion­ships with stu­dents.

“With the school hol­i­days fast ap­proach­ing there will be a num­ber of lo­cal op­er­a­tions to re­duce the in­ci­dence of of­fend­ing dur­ing this pe­riod,” Insp. Parkin said.

“From a holis­tic com­mu­ni­ty­based polic­ing ap­proach, the South Hed­land Po­lice Sta­tion wants to build key re­la­tion­ships through en­gage­ment, such as open com­mu­nity fo­rums.

“I am driv­ing a cul­tural aware­ness for many po­lice of­fi­cers, be­cause there is some his­tor­i­cal mis­trust and I am do­ing my ut­most to break down those bar­ri­ers be­tween us and the com­mu­nity.”

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