WA police to do more with less over summer

WA police will work extra shifts to address the state's traditional summer crime spike.
WA police will work extra shifts to address the state's traditional summer crime spike.

Western Australia will experience a bigger police presence on its streets this summer but without more officers being hired.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts announced a $5 million funding package on Sunday dedicated to addressing "historical spikes in crime over the summer months".

Operation Heat Shield would seek to provide more than 50,000 additional police hours by boosting the number of shifts, she said.

However the state's police union has received the announcement with scepticism, saying staffing shortages are critical and additional hours for existing officers will only stretch their capabilities.

"This is yet another knee jerk reaction by the McGowan government. They are missing the bigger picture and they are failing to support the community and policing," WA Police Union President Harry Arnott said.

"The government's lack of commitment to increasing police numbers has created police shortages, putting increased pressure on officers to do more with less and placing the community at risk."

According to the union, there are 128 long-term vacancies across the Perth, plus 90 long term vacancies in regional WA.

"These vacancies mean more than 400 police cars are off the road each and every week," the union said.

Heat Shield is timed to run from December 1 to May 31.

Patrols will be stepped up over its duration at suburban centres, in Perth's CBD and shopping, entertainment and transport hubs to deter anti-social behaviour.

"This is about being pro-active and giving the community reassurance," Ms Roberts said.

"This increased police presence in suburban and regional centres across the state and will be on a scale never before seen in Western Australia."

Australian Associated Press