Labor has pledged to provide 500 extra police officers in WA over four years in a $162 million commitment it says will significantly boost community safety.
In its first major election announcement in law and order, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan today also promised to build at least three new police stations and announced extra funding to expand the mounted police section.
Mr McGowan said the 500 extra police would be in addition to the 170 new officers allocated in the existing budget for 2012-13 and 2013-14.
He said the extra 500 police would be provided over four years from 2014, taking the total to 670 more officers by 2018.
"I have a traditional view of law and order," he said.
"I actually believe that you need to have police on the streets and in the suburbs and the towns to deal with law and order and crime."
Mr McGowan said the Barnett Government had broken its 2008 election promise to recruit an extra 500 police officers.
"To date only 180 of these police officers have been delivered leaving 170 officers to be hired over the next 18 months," he said.
The Police union called for both major parties to commit to recruiting 800 more police officers at the start of the election campaign.
Mr McGowan, who briefed the union this morning, said he believed 500 was appropriate for WA's growing population.
He said the 500 officers would be police with full powers and not auxiliary staff.
"This is the first instalment of our commitment to community safety," he said.
He said Labor would also spend $27 million to build new police stations in Capel, Secret Harbour and Ballajura in its first term and carry out an audit of all stations.
He described the Government's approach to creating police hubs rather than have more stations in the suburbs as the "wrong way to go".
Mr McGowan said $1.5 million would be spent over two years expanding the 20-officer mounted police section.
The WA Police Union says the pledge is a start, but short of the 800 extra officers the union wanted over four years.
“It is a start to the election campaign and we seek a further commitment from the other parties," he said.
“At the end of the day we want to do what’s in the best interests of the community and the police numbers we are seeking is reasonable.
“At this point in time the first shot has been fired by the Labor Party, which is 500."
In a bid to apply an unprecedented level of pre-election political pressure, the union said last month it would ask every will ask every MP to indicate support for each of its 17 demands of the incoming government and will publish the results on its website.
Mr Tilbury said its pre-election strategy remained should it not be satisfied by the responses from MPs by February 15.
“We’re not going to get into whether it is a bidding war, but we seek on the Premier on behalf of the Liberals and the Nationals to make a commitment that meets or exceeds the 500 already given by Labor," he said.
“We are still seeking 800 police officers but 500 is a good start and there’s further to go.”
Mr Tilbury said the union’s priority was to properly resource existing police stations.
He said it police “hubbing” worked in high population areas requiring shorter distances to travel, but not where “tyranny of distance” was an issue.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said the Government had a strong record on law and order.
"The WA Police Budget is now $240million, 27 per cent, better off than when we came to Government and we remain on track to fulfil its promise to recruit 350 police officers and 150 auxiliary officers by 2013/14, which also means more cops on the beat than ever before," she said.
"The Liberal Party will release its policies on policing and other initiatives to make our communities safer in due course.”
Mr McGowan said he would discuss how this was done with the Police Commissioner.