Safety in numbers?

Community safety issues – policing and prisons – are often issues in an election year, as recent reports highlight.  Polling shows that the Barnett Government is heading for victory, but are they safe?

Serious concerns have been raised about the pressures that police and prison officers face each day to keep us safe.  The Police Union estimates that an additional 800 police officers are needed and that cut backs are hurting the effectiveness of frontline operations. 

The riot at WA’s only juvenile prison, Banksia Hill, has resulted in the transfer to over-crowded adult prisons of over 70 children and young people.  The Prison Officers’ union has been calling for the Barnett Government to address over-crowding and to respect the risk that prison officers take in their daily work.

Newpoll and Westpoll both have the Barnett Government heading for victory at the forthcoming State election. 

But the latest and most reliable poll, WestPoll, found that voters increasingly say that education and health are important issues.  Issues that Save Our Services has been raising publicly.

Many young people and adults in our criminal justice system suffer poor mental health and have low levels of education. 

If we’re to break the cycle of crime among our young we need a strong criminal justice system staffed by officers who are respected.  We also need school and health services in public hands where those who are most vulnerable are more likely to be better served, more likely to avoid engaging in crime.

For them, for us, and for the Barnett Government, none of this is a forgone conclusion.