‘Not a priority’

Alleged brothel near Beaconsfield primary school

AN alleged brothel believed to have been operating for at least six months just metres from a primary school in Beaconsfield is “not considered a policing priority” says WA police minister Liz Harvey.

Despite residents providing police details such as car registrations and other comings and goings at the Warren Street house, Ms Harvey says police are only interested if “there is evidence of the involvement of drugs, organised crime, juveniles or sexual servitude”.

Local upper house Liberal MP Nick Goiran told the minister earlier this year residents had reported, “some children have been approached by the man who runs the brothel or by men visiting the premises”.

“A friend from the next street saw a man masturbating in his car, parked outside [Christ the King] school,” one local mum said.

Residents are fuming about the lack of interest from police and Fremantle city council.

“We have hundreds of regos, we even have a Crimestoppers case number,” the resident, who asked not to be named, says.

“Men park in driveways or by the side of the road while they wait to go in. My husband works at night. It is distressing when you have children of your own.”

Police refer complainants to Fremantle council, which in turn sends them back to the police.

“The city does not have a policy on brothels as they are illegal under separate legislation,” council bugle Jason Cunningham says. “Any illegal activity is a police matter.”

Mr Goiran wrote to Ms Harvey, saying “current laws provide sufficient basis for the police to investigate and prosecute”.

Residents had provided details, “including the arrival each morning of several women of Asian decent by taxi, accompanied either by an older woman or a rough-looking man who pays the taxi fare”.

“Our government has promised to deal with prostitution in residential areas…we should be making an effort to [relocate] this ‘industry’ in commercial and industrial areas.”

Ms Harvey replied January 29, saying police had not acted as “they have only received several anonymous Crimestoppers reports in relation to this address”.

Police will conduct “targeted patrols” of the Beaconsfield address, she promised.

“WA Police’s position is that brothel-based prostitution is not considered a policing priority unless there is evidence of the involvement of drugs, organised crime, juveniles or sexual servitude.

“My assessment is it is unlikely that the situation will improve unless legislation is passed which resolves the practical and evidentiary issues concerning prostitution, provides sufficient enforcement powers and clear legislative guidance to WA Police to ensure they can respond to public complaints and close down brothels in residential areas.”

In the meantime, Mr Goiran says the mother who made the initial complaint “is becoming extremely distressed and concerned for the well-being of her own children and other children in the neighbourhood and at the school”.


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