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Police minister blames meth for crime

Police minister Michelle Roberts and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson

Image supplied by Michelle Roberts

Police minister Michelle Roberts and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson

Malcolm Coleman, Reporter

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WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson are working on a new strategy to combat increases in the crime rate in Perth over the past five years.

The latest WA Police crime statistics show that from July-Dec 2018 the crime rate was higher than it was for those months, on average, over the last five years, with ‘Offences Against the Person’ up 0.8%, ‘family-related offences’ up 7% and drug offences up 8.4%, while ‘Offences against Property’ were down 4.1%.

Explaining to NewsVineWA why violent crimes were up and property crimes were down Ms Roberts said: “I think that most people in the community know that one of the big drivers of crime is drugs, and more particularly methamphetamine.

“Unlike some of the drugs that have come before, methamphetamine doesn’t just cause people to commit crimes, in order to get the money to get the drugs, as we found when heroin was significantly the drug of choice back in the late 1990s.

“Back then people were stealing electrical goods, jewellery and other things in order to flog it off at hock shops, in order to buy the drugs. What we find with methamphetamine is that, it’s cheaper and more affordable for people, but the other consequence is that it really impacts significantly on  people’s behaviour and personalities, so that’s why police believe that it is the driver for a lot of violent crimes, so you see increases in things like assaults, including domestic assaults as a result of people being high on methamphetamine.”

She added: “We know that if we can drive down the use of methamphetamine in the community, just as we drive down the use of alcohol, that this will have a significant impact on crime.”

The strategy introduced by the Minister and Commissioner has primarily involved reversing the changes made under the Barnett Government to the organisation of police work.

Under the Barnett Government the number of metropolitan police districts was reduced from eight to three. The new plan restores the eight districts and Ms Roberts claims that this will reduce response times as police have less distance to travel to get to places in their districts. She also said the idea of having local police in local areas was working well.

She has also done away with the idea of having separate response teams, an idea that the Barnett Government introduced based on a model that was working well in Manchester in the UK.

Ms Roberts said: “I just think there is a big difference between policing somewhere like Manchester, which is an intense population in a small geographic area, compared to Western Australia.”

The Minister is hopeful that these strategies will improve the crime statistics.

She added: “I will continue to support and fund the Police Commissioner and the police force, so they are able to tackle the scourge of drugs. We have also committed to a meth border force that consists of one hundred additional police officers and 20 other technical staff to support those officers to put that extra resource into busting people who are dealing with methamphetamine.”

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Malcolm Coleman, Reporter

Mal is an aspiring journalist whose ambition is a career in a journalism and broadcasting, or a communications role in either a media-orientated, professional...

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Police minister blames meth for crime