Reform program for WA Police
Frontline 2020 is WA Police’s ongoing reform program, encapsulating a range of initiatives, all geared towards making the agency as efficient and effective as it can be in an environment of increasing demands and finite resources.
The key principle is to create the best possible police agency for the people of Western Australia within the resources available. To do this, WA Police needs to reduce demand for services by tackling issues before they become too big to handle. Frontline 2020 builds on the Frontline First reforms before it, which focused upon returning as many officers as possible to the frontline and ensuring they were well-equipped to do the tasks required of them. WA Police aims to be even more efficient, more productive, and more locally focused.
Under Frontline 2020, community confidence in local police has been bolstered by the introduction of innovative social media methods and other local-level initiatives, to keep the public informed of policing issues and what local police are doing about local problems. Every station on WA now has its own Twitter account and each local district has a Facebook page. You may have already noticed this. In addition, WA Police’s public website has been upgraded.
However, recent challenging crime statistics have emphasised the need to adjust the metropolitan operating model and prioritise response services ahead of community engagement activities. This change emphasises the centralised direction of Local Police Team resources across the metropolitan area and a heavy focus on how those teams prioritise tasks. Police remain committed, however, to understanding and tackling the root causes of crime where possible.
The public is now able to access a growing list of online services, such as the Australian-first Check My Crime facility. This allows victims of theft and damage to keep track of investigations and even enter information directly into the police database. The time saved is being re-invested into frontline services.
Increasingly, WA Police will be engaging a more scientific approach as part of its Evidence Based Policing Project. This facet of the Frontline 2020 program is examining what works, what doesn’t work, and what looks promising in areas of policing practice through a series of carefully assessed initiatives. The project commenced with a Crackdown operation, gathering information on the best ways to use police resources in entertainment precincts. Operation Turning Point is a deferred prosecution program being trialled in parts of Perth and Broome, to deter eligible first-time offenders from entering into the criminal justice system. WA Police will also soon trial Body Worn Video cameras to determine their effect in protecting the community and police officers alike.
These and many other measures will take time to develop, and while Frontline 2020 has no end-date it will result in a police service equipped for the future. It is likely WA Police will look significantly different by the year 2020, but frontline policing services to the community remain the agency’s core priority, with a business-as-usual approach.