The Labor Government has refused to confirm whether it will retain at least two sworn officers at country police stations.
Member for Roe Peter Rundle MLA confronted Police Minister Michelle Roberts in Parliament this week to demand answers on Labor’s plan for regional police resourcing.
“The Minister was asked specifically if she would provide adequate resourcing for country stations, including retaining at least two sworn officers at each location, and she refused to directly address the question,” Mr Rundle said.
“It appears we are heading back to the dark old days of the previous Labor Government where it shut six country police stations across regional Western Australia, including three in the electorate of Roe.”
Mr Rundle said the three stations Labor shut in 2007 – at Cranbrook, Wickepin and Dumbleyung – were subsequently re-opened by the Liberal-National Government.
“Given Labor has ruled out examining a new revenue source or privatising assets it stands to reason that they will need to make cuts to achieve Budget savings,” Mr Rundle said.
“Labor’s track record shows that when money is running thin they will look to siphon police resources away from the bush.”
Mr Rundle said under questioning in Parliament the Police Minister ruled out closing regional stations yet he remained sceptical.
“The Nationals WA will hold Labor to this commitment,” he said. “When Labor last shut country stations it caused great concern in the affected communities and it took the hard work and lobbying of The Nationals, along with the local governments, to get these vital pieces of community infrastructure reopened.”
Mr Rundle said country police stations did not have the specialist support or back-up enjoyed by the metropolitan area. “This is a key reason why the retention of staffing levels, and in some cases the improvement of staffing levels, is required,” Mr Rundle said.