Top cop promises local renewal

Rebecca ParishNorth West Telegraph

The State’s top cop says he is confident recent changes at the South and Port Hedland police stations will soon benefit the broader community, following a contentious year in which several officers were involved in legal proceedings.

One officer was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm from a January incident, another was charged after he allegedly crashed his personal car into a police car while under the influence, and one officer was charged with gun offences after an alleged drunken rampage inside the Port Hedland Police Station in July.

However, in one of the most widely publicised incidents three officers were stood aside and investigated over allegations they verbally abused two teenage boys, gave them a “wild ride”, and dumped them on the outskirts of South Hedland.

In a response provided to the North West Telegraph by a WA Police spokeswoman, following allegations of police mistreatment earlier this year, Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan’s first priority was to ensure the people of Hedland had the best possible policing service.

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As such, the spokeswoman said several transfers had been ordered to ensure “renewal of officers” and a fresh perspective.

“We are shortly to fill the final supervisor vacancy at South Hedland Police Station,” she said.

“In addition, successful applicants have been identified to fill three new positions for Aboriginal community relations officers, with the first scheduled to commence later this month.”

The spokeswoman said an enhanced induction process had also since been implemented for all officers with a focus on cultural awareness.

She said the changes would complement a stronger community engagement model, which has been introduced to build relationships with the Aboriginal community.

“Policing in this area can be complex because of a range of factors including the impact of a small number of families in crisis,” the spokeswoman said.

“Local police continue to work with Government and non-government services to provide support for these families and respond to other issues in the towns as they arise.”

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