Top cop has new crime plan
The region’s most senior police officer has embarked on a new strategy to crack youth crime after conceding most young serial offenders in the Kimberley are not afraid of the law or being locked up.
Kimberley District Superintendent Allan Adams said the prospect of being apprehended by police and subjected to juvenile detention was not a deterrent to a large core of offenders familiar with the justice system.
The number of Kimberley youths held in detention has more than doubled over the past two years after more than 20,000 curfew checks by police imposed as bail conditions by the courts.
Supt Adams said despite having the smallest population of any police district, the Kimberley had provided up to 27 young offenders at one time to the Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention centre in Canning Vale.
He said the numbers being sent from the Kimberley to Perth were substantially more compared to other police regions with more than 15 times the population.
“The average person would expect more offenders being apprehended and experiencing detention would naturally lead to reduced crime rates,” he said.
“It is simply not the case. The Kimberley has experienced unacceptably high crime rates over a two-year period. Over the past 12 months, I have come to the very strong realisation that arresting our way out of the current situation will not deliver the reduced crime rates wanted by all.”
Supt Adams said police had not relied entirely on enforcement at this stage and pointed to a “tremendous effort” into proactively engaging youths by crime intervention officers in Broome, Derby and Kununurra with two more arriving in Fitzroy Crossing over the coming weeks.
“They do great work engaging a large number of Kimberley kids, including some in the higher risk category,” he said.
“We have found a number of the higher risk kids do not naturally engage in the police effort to provide diversionary activities.”
Police are now leading a Kimberley-wide restructure that targets key recidivist juvenile offenders.
“The number of these kids is high but not unmanageable,” Supt Adams said.
“We have started the planning to introduce a more intensive, collaborative case management-styled effort towards these kids and their families — without losing the positive connection with the broader number of youths in the region.”
Police have historically worked with agencies involving youth justice, child protection and education on how to include higher risk offenders and their families.
But discussions have begun to involve a “considerably” broader spectrum including Kimberley Aboriginal cultural authorities as well as health, disability and other community-based services.
“These services will be better engaged by police going forward and provide different options than those traditionally relied upon by us,” Supt Adams said.
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