Kimberley Police boss’ urgent message to State Govt: ‘we need safe space for troubled youth’

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Kimberley District Superintendent Greg Crofts.
Camera IconKimberley District Superintendent Greg Crofts. Credit: Jakeb Waddell.

The region’s top cop has called on the State Government to urgently open a “safe place” for troubled youth on the streets in Broome to curb ongoing high crime rates.

Kimberley District Supt Greg Crofts said police needed a secure place to drop children being picked up at night who did not want to return to their homes and were likely to offend.

Detained youngsters who have been apprehended or are considered “at-risk” in the town can currently only be taken back home or held at the police station until a safe location is found.

Supt Crofts said many children did not want to be in their houses because of the behaviour of people present, meaning they were highly likely to end up back on the streets.

This has been backed by several officers, including Const. Nathan Smith, who told the Broome Advertiser he often had a carload of youth pleading with him to “drop them home last”.

It is safe to assume if the young people of Broome had a safe place at all times, then that would reduce some of the causes of crime

Supt Crofts

“We know many crimes committed by the youth is because they are out late at night in small groups, and mob mentality drives them to take risks they normally wouldn’t, including committing crime,” he said.

“It is safe to assume if the young people of Broome had a safe place at all times, then that would reduce some of the causes of crime.

“There are many occasions a place other than a police station is required for young people to be when a safe place cannot be identified with family or extended family members.

“This place (would not be) for formal detention, but a place where the youth can be provided with safe shelter with a place to sleep with food security.”

Department of Communities service delivery director Lindsay Hale said the department worked 24 hours to ensure children were not returned to unsafe homes.

A State Government spokesperson said crime prevention and diversionary programs to break the cycle of juvenile reoffending were a strong focus.

They said a working group heading the $6.2 million Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy roll-out was working with Aboriginal organisations, agencies and local governments to expand on-country activities and measures, on top of programs already funded through the Broome PCYC and Broome Youth and Families Hub.

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