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 this morning that funding would be provided 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.”
Mrs Harvey said a Liberal Government would 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 $3.6 million would be spent over four years to engage the equivalent of two magistrates, along with associated court staff, which meant alleged offenders held in police lock ups were dealt with more rapidly.
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.”
The Police Minister said a Liberal Government would also expand police station video-link technology at Karratha, Geraldton, 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,” Mrs Harvey said.
On Sundays, WA Police estimate that at least 50 detainees were held in police custody waiting to appear before a magistrate.