Police shortfalls

You need modern policing methods in a modern world. Today’s forces have specialist units that tackle criminal elements such as organised crime or arsonists.It makes sense to think strategically, to pool resources and expertise and to act widely in the best interests of the community.
But in the push to specialise, to allocate resources according to crime statistics, some communities can be overlooked.
It appears this is the case in Strathalbyn.
Like Mt Barker, this once small, rural service town has experienced enormous population growth and changing demographics in the past decade.
Unlike Mt Barker, Strathalbyn doesn’t warrant a 24-hour station. It has a station that is open from 9.30-11.30am on week days and it must rely on Goolwa and Mt Barker police patrols to pick up the shortfalls.
A group of Strathalbyn residents is now saying that those shortfalls are not being adequately met.
They claim that anti-social behavior is steadily increasing and the reason that “victim-reported crime” statistics are down is because the local station is rarely staffed and police response times after phone calls are so long that no-one can be bothered ringing.
That claim is difficult to prove but anecdotal evidence, even from the police media reports supplied to The Courier, suggests that Strathalbyn is disproportionately represented in reports of property damage, minor vandalism and loutish behavior in public places.
The people of Strathalbyn do not want a special police unit to whisk in and out of the town to solve a crime problem when it becomes big enough to attract the attention of authorities. They want an old fashioned police presence to act as a deterrent to its growing population.
There’s nothing like a U-turn from a slow moving patrol car to curb any inclination to urinate in a doorway or smash a letterbox.
More than a deterrent, just having a patrol car that can respond to a serious call in a reasonable time would be welcome.
A 48-minute response time to a hotel ram-raid in not good enough.
That incident speaks volumes about the need for more officers being available in rural areas where distance is a critical factor.
Across the other side of the region, in Woodforde and Teringie, residents there are also having problems with response times.
But their issue is not distance from available patrols, but logistical planning.
In theory, if the response time from their designated station in Mt Barker is too great, a closer patrol is tasked from a metropolitan station.  A number of Woodforde and Teringie residents say this just isn’t happening and they want out of the Hills police region.
Who can blame them?

1 Comment on "Police shortfalls"

  1. Only a stable population combined with better investment can relieve our over-stretched emergency services.

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