A fatal overdose incident that transpired this week further adds fuel to the Police Union’s fire against the ten 24 hour metropolitan police stations.
Union President George Tillbury made claims that keeping more stations open reduces the number of police on the front line, and in turn reduces the amount of protection available for the community.
Shadow Police Minister, Peter Katsambanis, further supports these claims, saying the State Government has made a wrong decision in taking police off our streets and putting them behind desks.
The overdose of a teenage girl in Armadale saw no police dispatched to the scene before the incident became fatal.
It is alleged that two officers manning a 24/7 were told they couldn’t assist, despite being the closest available officers.
“Having police officers stuck behind desks when they should be responding to serious incidents, places our whole community in danger,” said Mr Katsambanis.
Mr Katsambanis also highlighted reports made by ambulance workers outlining if a situation is too dangerous to go into without police assistance, they wait for the officers to arrive before going in.
“You need police on the scene in situations that could turn volatile. We shouldn’t be expecting our ambulance officers to be walking into danger solely to protect the public… that’s the primary responsibility of the police,” he explained.
Police Minister, Michelle Roberts, denied all claims made and commented with the commissioner’s restructure there are more officers on the front line than ever before, able to respond.
She said this incident was an operational problem, with police looking further into it.
However, Mrs Roberts questioned why if it’s a life threatening situation with a drug overdose, why weren’t ambulance officers dispatched in the first instance?
“Senior police always do have the option of closing a station if they want to – that’s not something they need my permission for,”
“There are other officers that could have responded that were available,” she said.
Mrs Roberts believes this beat up by Mr Tillbury and the Police Union is nonsense, suggesting there are problems with having ten 24 hour police stations, but there was no issues with the previous seven.
“Perth’s a big city, people expect to have a good level of policing service, and be within reasonable distance of 24 hour police station,”
“A state like Victoria where Peter Katsambanis is from has some ninety 24 hour police stations…” she commented.
When Mr Katsambanis was asked if it was a case of needing more resources he replied that we clearly need more police.
“This Government ripped $250 million out of the police budget… It should look at returning those funds, rewarding police appropriately and recruiting far more police than we are right now,”
“To expect people in danger to find their way to a police station is just nonsense. We need the police to go to the crime scene, not the crime scene coming to the police station,” he said.