Press release from the Liberal Party.
Courts will be funded to sit seven days a week and at night to deal with offenders, if a Liberal Government is re-elected.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said the Liberals will provide funding for courts to sit on Sundays and, where necessary, at night to help cut down the time police officers spend minding suspects.
“What this will mean for the public is up to 20 additional police available for frontline duties each weekend,” Mrs Harvey said.
“Police should not be playing ‘nursemaid’ to offenders rather than out tackling crime.”
Geraldton MLA and Liberal-candidate Ian Blayney said a Liberal Government will also make changes to ensure offenders can be dealt with more rapidly and effectively, and to cut red tape to free up police time.
Attorney General Michael Mischin said $3.6million will be spent over four years to engage the equivalent of two magistrates, along with associated court staff, which means alleged offenders held in police lock ups are dealt with more rapidly, releasing police from custodial duties pending the accused’s first appearance in court.
Mr Mischin said the funding would be for judicial officers to be available at the new Perth Police Complex on Sundays and, where necessary, at night to deal with bail and remand decisions, as well as to fast track traffic and impoundment matters.
“We need to streamline police and court processes so we have a more efficient and effective justice system,” Mr Mischin said.
“On average, cases in the Magistrates Court take several appearances to resolve, even when they are very minor offences. It is in the interests of the victim, the police and the community to ensure that justice is dispensed rapidly and effectively,” he said.
Mr Blayney said a Liberal Government will also expand video-link technology at Geraldton police station, plus other centres - Karratha, Broome, Albany, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Northam and Bunbury - to ensure they are able to access the seven-day services at the Perth Police Complex.
“This means police officers will not have to spend time travelling back and forth, or waiting around in court rooms to give evidence,” he said.
In addition, Mr Blayney said a Liberal Government will provide $750,000 in funding for a comprehensive, independent audit of the legislation and processes regulating police work to simplify processes, reduce red tape and ensure the additional Magistrates Court resources can be used most effectively.
The audit will be conducted by a judge acting in consultation with WA Police and the police union, and will focus on:
• removing bureaucratic obstacles that make it unnecessarily difficult for police to arrest offenders, and on streamlining the charging process;
• identifying ways to free up police officers from minding suspects in police stations, transporting detainees, and managing property;
• ensuring traffic offences and other minor Magistrates Court matters can be dealt with faster and with fewer unnecessary court attendances.
The Police Minister said these measures were part of our plan to not only have more police officers but also support them to do their job more effectively.
“These reforms are part of a realistic and comprehensive approach to achieving an increase in police hours spent on targeted frontline duties, maintaining accountability and assisting our police service to more effectively respond to demands,” she said.
• At weekends, WA Police estimate that state-wide, on any given Sunday, at least 50 detainees held in police custody waiting to appear before a magistrate. This equates to equivalent of 20 police officers per weekend minding them;
• $93million Perth Police Complex, expected to open in April, designed to increase efficient communication between police and courts;
• Facilities on site for a Magistrates Court, and capacity to provide video-link services to regional locations;
• It costs $22 a day for police to store an impounded hoon vehicle and the average time from date of offence to date of conviction for hoon offences is 90 days.