Bob Wiese

Bob Wiese


    Complete restructuring of Neighbourhood Watch scheme

    9/06/1996 12:00 AM



    The Western Australian Police Service will overhaul its role in reducing crime in the community with a complete re-structure of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.


    Police Minister Bob Wiese said the re-structure of Neighbourhood Watch was long overdue and would enable police and the community to have far more personal interaction in the fight against crime.


    "It is 14 years since Neighbourhood Watch began operating in the suburbs and while it has been a useful tool in the fight against crime it is time to change the structure to suit contemporary needs," he said.


    "The new system will allow more police officers to be involved in the scheme and will assist them to develop a better rapport with local community representatives and to identify with their concerns and requirements."


    At the Neighbourhood Watch State Conference today, Mr Wiese said the current reform and regionalisation of the police service through the Delta Program had created more opportunities to upgrade the Neighbourhood Watch scheme to combat crime.


    In the past community policing officers co-ordinated Neighbourhood Watch in conjunction with local community representatives.


    Under the re-structure, Neighbourhood Watch management will be broken down to enable a direct link between a general duties police officer at the local station to liaise with the community representatives in each individual suburb.


    "The Delta Program is all about creating a better police service for the community by allowing local police, equipped with local knowledge to make the necessary decisions that help local people," Mr Wiese said.


    "Now is an opportune time to utilise these new management skills in a proactive way and to unite the community and the Police Service in the fight against crime."


    Mr Wiese said community management would also be re-structured starting with an approved suburb manager who would liaise directly with the officer in charge of the local station.


    Suburbs would be broken down into areas comprising of 600 homes under the direction of an approved area co-ordinator. On the next level a street representative would be available to assist police and to manage the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in their street.


    Speaking at the launch of the conference, Mr Wiese said there was a tendency for some people to be complacent about getting involved in community-based programs to combat crime or to even properly secure their own property.


    "Police cannot combat crime alone," he said.


    "The key to crime-fighting is an active partnership between the community and police because the role each of us plays can make a major difference in preventing and solving crime."


    The Minister said to secure homes with alarms and proper deadlocks on doors and windows and to install vehicle immobilisers were positive steps to deter thieves. Ensuring household items were engraved also assisted police in the recovery of stolen goods and in tracking down those responsible.


    "Crime must be stopped before it happens and taking these precautions allows police resources to be better spent on catching crooks, rather than dealing with the aftermath of a break-in," Mr Wiese said.


    Media contact: Bronwyn Hillman 322 2311