Police presence in the Armadale area is set to significantly increase after the first concrete was poured at the new Armadale courthouse and police complex.
Currently Armadale police station holds 180 police offers and once the new complex is built, there will be 340 police stationed there.
The new complex will also house 20 staff from the Department of Justice and the number of cells will be significantly increased.
Various dignitaries, including senior police officers, joined Police Minister Michelle Roberts last Friday in watching the concrete poured in what will be a major piece of infrastructure for the region.
Minister Roberts said this new facility will bring Armadale into line with other major centres, including Fremantle, Joondalup and Midland.
“We have had rallies here in Armadale calling for a 24-hour police complex and we have had calls for a new complex,” she said.
“I think most of the time I have been in parliament people have complained about the Armadale Police Station and also the court complex.
“To now be able to bring this to fruition and for us to be able to allocate $85 million to this is truly significant.”
“It is only fitting too that local people have a proper police and justice complex as is being developed here,” she said.
The Minister said it is expected that the building will be ‘substantially complete’ by year’s end with an expected official opening to occur in 2021, or by early 2022 at the latest.
The new court house will have five court rooms, something Member for Armadale Tony Buti who has been lobbying for this facility for years, has welcomed.
“I had a meeting with a lot of magistrates in the court house and it was just deplorable conditions for them to work in,” he said.
“This is an important step in regards to the problems encountered at the current courthouse with alleged perpetrators and victims being in the same space and clients trying to give instructions to their solicitors in the open, so it was just not sustainable.
“I think this is reflective of the status of Armadale being a regional centre and we can hopefully try and get more projects like this here,” he said.
Minister Roberts said the project is employing 260 contractors, including 30 apprentices, including people from the local region, but beyond that the Minister said the benefits to the region will be significant.
“This will have a variety of impacts on crime in the southeast. We have seen crime go down since the peak of 2015/16 in this region,” she said.
This complex will bring together a range of units in the police, including general duty officers, but there will also be detectives and there will be specialist units such as those targeting domestic violence and specific areas of crime,” she said.
However, Member for Darling Range Alyssa Hayden said the current government is simply recycling the previous Liberal government’s ideas.
“The former Liberal State Government committed funds to the new Armadale Court and Police Complex back in 2016, with plans to begin construction in 2017,” she said.
“With less than a year left in their term, the McGowan Government has failed to deliver its promise to increase the pay of West Australian police officers.”