Where are the cops?

Police ‘too busy’ to see bashing victims

‘I think it’s outrageous, considering that in more gentrified suburbs the cops can spend half-an-hour making sure a community group don’t draw a chalk rainbow in Mt Lawley’

BASHING victims in Fremantle describe as “outrageous” the time it takes police to respond to calls for help.

On March 26 Italian backpacker Pietro Simondi, after a gang of youths bashed and threw bricks at him, waited two hours for a no-show.

When he rang to find out where the police were he was asked to walk to the station.

“I’m not saying we have the perfect police system in Italy, but no-one came to see me for two hours,” he told the Herald.

“You would hope the police would come and check to see if I’m ok. I’m not angry but I don’t think the system worked that night.”

Skateboard

On Monday, Herald journalist David Bell was attacked by a male with a skateboard outside Chicken Treat in Queen Street.

“He had hit the shop-owner first, badly injuring her arm and went for another swing when I tried to grab his arm,” Mr Bell said.

“But then he swung around hitting me in the arm and head.

“I staggered to the chemist, where the shop owner called the cops.”

Despite Mr Bell telling police the guy was agitated and wielding his board at people, he was told no car would be dispatched for at least an hour.

He was told it might be quicker to walk to the station two blocks away to fill in a report: “I think it’s outrageous, considering that in more gentrified suburbs the cops can spend half-an-hour making sure a community group doesn’t draw a chalk rainbow in Mt Lawley,” Mr Bell said.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says he’s unaware of any spike in local violent crime but describes as “frustrating” the fact a promised beef-up of police presence seemed to have dropped away after a couple of months.

Last year he’d met with commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and police minister Liza Harvey, who’d assured him there would be more cops on the beat in Fremantle during the day.

“Fremantle as a regional centre is happy to have a law court, a large mental health facility, and a range of social services such as child protection and housing but these need to be adequately supported by a dedicated police presence on the beat on a daily basis,” the mayor says.

“Having a daily on-the-beat presence prevents anti-social behaviour rather than just responding to it when called, as too often happens.”

Police flak-catcher Susan Usher claims police actively target anti-social behaviour at all times.

“Additionally Operation Peyton is daily beat/bicycle patrols targeting anti-social behaviour in the Fremantle CBD which has had an impact on curbing anti social behaviour.

“Operation Elver on Friday and Saturday evenings targets anti-social behaviour in the Fremantle precinct.

Decrease

“This has resulted in a decrease in reported incidents of assaults and anti-social behaviour.”

Last month the Herald reported a 19-year-old electrical apprentice had been bashed unconscious in Booyeembara Park.

He’d told the Herald a police car drove past him after he’d awakened, and tried to flag it down. There are also local claims of a bashing near the Round House recently, but the Herald was unable to verify.

The Ed says: This week we stumbled across three uniformed police loading books into a car in Fremantle. They said they were from Joondalup. We think there are better ways to deploy three uniformed officers than use them as couriers between Joondalup and Fremantle.

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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