After a week of wild and destructive weather, police were out in force at the weekend in the Peel region, ready for what the elements threw at them.
Part of their strategy was to be on the front foot with party-goers as the festive season celebrations began and officers from the Peel region banded together for Operation Unite — a joint operation throughout Australia and New Zealand to curb alcohol-related violence.
On Friday night — the first of the two-day operation — the Telegraph was given behind-the-scene access to the project.
Heading the exercise in Rockingham was Sen. Sgt Glen Willers who was in charge of the region’s northside operation.
Surrounded by maps, spreadsheets and phone numbers, Sen. Sgt Willers welcomed officers as they entered the meeting room, which was the nerve centre for the weekend exercise.
It was a call-to-arms for the officers in blue, with detectives, gang crime officers, Peel traffic, and forensics joining police officers from Kwinana, Rockingham and Mundijong police stations for Operation Unite.
Just like a classroom roll call, pairs of officers filed into the meeting room between 6pm and 7pm and were briefed by Sen. Sgt Willers, the first of four briefings.
The second briefing was scheduled for 9.30pm when all 11 teams had dinner together in the crib and shared information.
Just after 7pm, Constable Nerissa Coleman and Sgt Clyde Pearson were given their instructions and hit the road.
They visited licensed premises in the City of Rockingham – part of the strategy to have a high visibility presence over the weekend.
As part of the meet and greet with hotel owners, Sgt Clyde recorded their name and contact number to add to police intelligence.
Returning to the station just before 10pm, the two officers reported to Sen. Sgt Willers, who said there had been little activity in the first four hours of Operation Unite.
Only two move-on notices were issued.
“The reason we’re here is to see what happens after midnight,” Sen. Sgt Willers said.
“People start drinking at home and then head out.”
After refuelling, the teams of officers returned to the beat with an emphasis on the city’s central business district and foreshore.
After an earlier disturbance at the George N Dragon Tavern, a second visit revealed the Shoalwater establishment had closed for the night. It was also an early end to the night for one party-goer who had passed out in a chair outside a fast-food restaurant on Railway Terrace.
Sen. Sgt Willers said the Friday night operation ended without incident and 23 licensed premises were visited, some up to six times.
On Saturday night police were kept busy as the warmer weather attracted bigger crowds to the city’s entertainment precinct.
Police issued more than a dozen move-on notices and six drivers had their licences suspended under new laws after they were allegedly caught with blood alcohol levels over 0.08.
The operation had a dramatic end at 4.30am on Sunday when police attended a single motor vehicle crash on Beacham Crescent, Medina.
It is alleged the vehicle was stolen from Cannington and the two occupants fled the scene on foot.
Sen. Sgt Willers said overall people had behaved and Operation Unite was successful in creating a highly visible police presence on the streets.
“There was a bigger crowd out on Saturday night but most patrons were well behaved,” he said.
“There were no major disturbances or adolescents misbehaving.
“A lot of work has been done by Rockingham City Council and Rockingham police to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour along the foreshore.”
As police collate the data and finalise their paperwork, the job is not over for police in the region.