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Date : 17 April 2023

Today, I wrote to the WA Premier Mark McGowan, and I asked him to:

  1. Direct the Department of Justice to carry out a study into factors that contribute to assaults on police officers;
  2. Allocate and deploy 50 police officers from the 950 program to youth liaison roles at PCYCs; and
  3. Reinstate school-based police officers, which were removed in 2001.

I made this request after the WA Police Union today released data showing that:

  • 232 police officers were assaulted in the March quarter of 2023; up from 77 in the same quarter of 2017;
  • 20 per cent of those officers were spat upon; 15 per cent suffered a contusion; and, 13 per cent suffered an open wound; and
  • Assaults are down by 71 per cent in the Great Southern Region, but are up in all other regions, including by 1200 per cent in the Mid West.

The spike in police officer assaults suggest that there is a rise in anti-authority attitudes in Western Australia. If left unaddressed, these attitudes can result in harmful, and potentially fatal outcomes.

Formed at a young age, these attitudes concern all authority figures, not just police. So, we must understand their causes, and address them at an early age.

School-based police officers are not just about tackling crime. They’re about building rapport and humanising officers in the eyes of young people.

The Government must put the ‘P’ back into ‘PCYC’ and ensure that there is a regular and visible presence of police officers at these clubs. Otherwise, they’re just another – albeit well-functioning – community centre.

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