HILTON PCYC president Bob Meredith says the Barnett government has pulled a swifty on the public, with its promise to staff PCYCs with uniformed officers failing to live up to expectations.
The Hilton club had campaigned hard to keep its coppers following an earlier Barnett government decision to replace police liaison officers with unsworn staff.
Hilton had argued the “two Ians” (Ian Hill and Ian Abercrombie) had been vital to the club’s success in keeping local kids occupied and on the straight and narrow.
However, by the time the government reversed its decision—following overwhelming public pressure—the two officers had been transferred.
Now, Mr Meredith says the two Ians’ replacements will only be working with “prolific offenders” and not other kids.
“When they start and sign in—if there is a car available in Freo—they will go into the room over there and won’t interact with the kids,” he told the Herald. “We have 30-odd kids that come here after school and their interaction over the years with the two Ians has been incredible. I think it’s very ordinary that kids have been cut off. What’s the point of having a shadow in a blue shirt sitting on a computer?”
Willagee Labor MP Peter Tinley, who’d used the Hilton PCYC as a troubled teen and who credits it with putting him on the right path, says the Barnett government is using the centre as a “glorified office”.
By placing a cop in front of a computer the WA government can technically say there are still police at the PCYC.
“The Barnett Government said they would not take police from PCYCs,” he said.
“I call on the premier to explain if this is another broken promise.
“The Fremantle PCYC in Hilton is a much-loved community asset and the police who have worked here have developed rapport with the families and children who use this centre.”
Police minister Liz Harvey says the government supports PCYCs, “and in particular the opportunity they provide for the engagement of uniformed police with youth at risk. We will announce its position in due course.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER