Zak Kirkup and the Liberals will commit $500 million to boost WA’s Police Force with an extra 1200 officers, which will enable the Organised Crime Squad to be bolstered to keep innocent West Australians safe from being caught up in the crossfire of outlaw bikie gang warfare.
Mr Kirkup, the Liberal Leader, said the significant increase in numbers in the next four years also included strengthening a host of community initiatives aimed at protecting West Australians.
“West Australians have every reason to be concerned that violent crime is so out of control in the state that an outlaw bikie gang can carry out an execution in front of families and children at a sporting event,” Mr Kirkup said.
“An innocent child was caught in the crossfire and injured. Families and children were exposed to horrific and distressing scenes.
“It is critical that Western Australia’s hard-working Police Force is given more resources to protect the community. We will provide 250 additional specialist police on top of the 950 officers identified in the State Budget, which the Liberals have committed to match.
“We will give the Police Commissioner the extra resources he needs to reduce record levels of violent crime and bring these outlaw bikie gangs under control.
“West Australian families deserve to feel safe when they venture out into the community with their children, they should be able to feel safe in their own front yard and in their own home. This is a central plank of our plan for a safer, smarter today and a better, brighter future for all West Australians.”
Shadow Police Minister Peter Katsambanis slammed the WA Labor Government for failing to provide the WA Police Force with enough officers in the wake of the gangland execution.
“The latest figures from October this year reveal that this Labor Government has not adequately resourced the WA Police Force,” Mr Katsambanis said.
“Fourteen of the state’s 16 police districts are under-strength. That is appalling.
“It is no wonder that under this Labor Government violent crime is out of control and at record levels, and that outlaw bikie gangs are emboldened to commit the most heinous crimes in front of innocent young children and families.
“A Liberal Government will commit to more boots on the ground, which will provide our hard-working and dedicated police officers with more capacity to reduce crime.
“Strengthening our police force by boosting its resources to keep West Australians safe is a priority. Our commitment to an additional 1200 police officers shows how seriously we value protecting the safety of West Australians.”
Mr Katsambanis was alarmed at the Labor Government’s approach to recruiting additional officers for the Police Force.
“It took until the last Budget before an election for Labor to announce they would substantially increase the number of police officers in Western Australia,” Mr Katsambanis said.
“This was an admission that they have failed to keep our community safe. Violent crime continues to rise sharply and is now at record levels.
“Labor have lost all credibility. We need more officers now, not after the election.
“Communities right throughout Western Australia are crying out for a larger and more visible police presence. The public know that only a Liberal Government will provide enough frontline police officers to keep our communities safe from rising violent crime.”
Under the Liberals’ plan, we will commit to:
- Bolstering the Organised Crime Squad. We will provide the WA Police Force with 1200 additional police officers. This gives the Police Commissioner the extra resources he needs to bolster the Organised Crime Squad and tackle record levels of violent crime and outlaw bikie gang warfare.
- Establishing a dedicated 250-strong Northbridge/CBD Police Unit. This will make the Perth CBD and Northbridge safe again for families and tourists.
- Establishing the Hoon Response Group. They will be equipped with mobile hoon cameras, to respond rapidly to dangerous and anti-social behaviour in any suburb or town across Western Australia, including the illegal trail bike activity that is plaguing many communities across the state.
- Establishing the Small Business Retail Theft Squad. They will tackle shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and organised retail theft in shopping centres and in small businesses across the state.
- More Police to Tackle Fraud and Scams. Additional police officers will boost the Financial Crime Squad and Technology Crime Services to tackle financial crimes against West Australians and small businesses.
This boost in resourcing will also assist in tackling the corruption in the WA public sector, including in government procurement, identified by the Corruption and Crime Commission.
- Boosting the Sex Assault Squad. Additional specialist resources will boost the ability of police to respond to sexual assaults and to provide victims with respectful, non-judgemental support and understanding. This follows on from our commitment to the $3 million Domestic Violence Forensic Unit trial.
- Boosting the Sex Offender Management Squad (SOMS). The police union has identified critical understaffing in this important unit that protects the community from dangerous sex offenders. Currently, the recommended case load per officer is 40 medium risk offenders but some officers have been dealing with up to 100 offenders, making their job much harder and risking the safety of our community.
To protect our children, the Liberals commit to:
- Boosting the Child Abuse Squad. Additional officers will be provided to protect our children from physical, sexual and psychological abuse and neglect.
- Boosting the Online Child Exploitation Squad. There will be a significant increase in the number of specialist police officers to tackle the scourge of child exploitation in the online environment.
- Trialing a new In-School Police program. The Liberals will conduct a two-year trial in 10 at-risk schools where serious violence, bullying or anti-social behaviour is impacting on the learning environment of children.
The in-school officers will focus on safety and education in collaboration with teachers and school staff to provide a calming presence, rather than taking a punitive approach.
To protect our seniors, the Liberals will commit to:
- Establishing the Elder Abuse Unit. This will prevent and tackle financial, physical, sexual and psychological abuse and neglect.
- A regional boost of 300 additional police officers. Rural and regional communities have been neglected by WA Labor, with violent crime now the worst on record and every single rural and regional police district operating below full-strength.
In the regions, the Liberals also commit to:
- Establishing the Rural Stock Squad. Stock theft is the most significant rural crime. Armed with covert CCTV, this squad will stop stock theft which unfairly impacts our pastoralists and graziers. The squad will also work with local police to address farm machinery and equipment theft.
- Extending the operation of the Sex Offenders Management Squad to regional WA. According to the police union, currently there are no Sex Offender Management Squad officers in the regions despite nearly 1000 offenders who require close supervision living and working in regional communities across WA.
We will establish a permanent and dedicated presence of Sexual Offenders Management Squad officers in Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, Broome and Kununurra to protect our regional communities from dangerous sex offenders.
- Establishing the Regional Retail Theft Unit. As part of the Small Business Retail Theft Squad, this unit can be rapidly deployed to regional towns across the state to deal with anti-social behaviour, shoplifting and organised retail theft.
The Liberals will also commit to:
- Spending $60 million on four new police stations. These will go to communities in desperate need of a stronger police presence. We have already announced that Kalamunda will receive a new $15 million station.
- $20 million CCTV for Seniors Fund. The Liberals commit $5 million per annum for CCTV and other electronic security devices for home security, on a matching basis, to give seniors peace of mind.
- $5 million for Local Community CCTV. We will commit $5 million to give local governments up to $25,000 to purchase CCTV to protect the local community – grants that WA Labor axed.
- $200,000 for mobile hoon cameras. The Liberals will commit to 20 specialised mobile hoon cameras to provide the necessary resources to our new Hoon Response Group.
- $4 million in additional funding for Police Mental Health Support. Police officers can be exposed to severe trauma in the course of their duties. They deserve much greater care and support in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions resulting from their service to the community.