City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder CEO John Walker has called on the Goldfields Magistrates Court to lift its game on sentencing, especially for matters like vandalism, property theft, shoplifting and drug dealing.
These are issues local police, assisted by the Safer Streets Patrol, are working hard to reduce, however the Magistrates Court is letting them down with lenient bail conditions.
The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is facing another hefty vandalism clean up and repair bill, this time at the Lord Forrest Precinct, after youths cut holes in four of the interpretive steel panels at the site, with an estimated replacement cost of $20,000.
Mr Walker said the City was putting everything on the table to help reduce antisocial behaviour and improve the liveability of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, supported by the WA Police, but the failure of the Magistrates Court to adequately sentence offenders was resulting in increased vandalism and costs.
“We have reached a point where we are now spending close to half a million dollars a year on helping combat antisocial behaviour as well as paying for the results of antisocial behaviour,” he said.
“This is not just the cost to repair the vandalism, but the increased security and CCTV that we now have to install at community facilities, as well as the cost of the Safer Streets Patrol.”
Mr Walker said the revolving door justice system was having an escalating negative impact on the community.
“Kalgoorlie-Boulder Police are doing an amazing job, and we have seen a nearly 25% decrease in crime for the first quarter compared to last year. The local officers have been working really hard to achieve this with proactive patrols and crime deterrents,” he said.
“All the magistrates working here seem to fly in for a couple of years, impose light penalties then nick off again with no consideration of the cumulative long-term impacts of their decision making on the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community.
“The City’s Safer Streets Patrol are actively patrolling our CBD’s to help reduce the negative behaviours that impact on our community, and are assisting police in arrests, only for the perpetrators to be released immediately.
“The impact of this is demoralizing for everyone involved. It’s not just the financial cost borne by the City, and ultimately the ratepayers, but also the emotional impact it has, as well as physical assaults on the staff who are spending their time developing and caring for our community facilities. It’s also hard for the police officers who are arresting the same offenders again and again, then seeing them walk away with not even a slap on the wrist. It must be so disheartening.”