New top cop in it for the victims

New top cop in it for the victims

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Canning Vale Senior Sergeant Jason Barnes has just taken up the position of Officer in Charge of Canning Vale Police Station. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A desire to find the truth and help victims was a strong driving force behind Senior Sergeant Jason Barnes’ decision to go for the top job at Canning Vale Police station.

The experienced officer has seen a lot in his 20 years in policing, including stints in regional WA in Newman as a junior officer, through to detective work, including stints in the Arson Squad, the State Operations Command Centre and most recently as Investigations Manager with Gosnells Police.

“The job is always challenging, whether you’ve been in it for five minutes or 20 years, it’s about the people you work with,” Senior Sergeant Barnes said.

“You have good days and bad days, but you try to minimise those bad days and focus on the wins you have with the community.

“You can have a file with a person you are working with and you don’t think it’s going to get anywhere and you finally get a lead on it and you put some hard work into that investigation and it comes to fruition.

“You tell that victim that from the outset you can’t guarantee they are going to have a positive outcome, but when you get a result and to be able to tell them that and show you have actually done some work and the appreciation those people have when you have done some hard work, that sticks with you,” he said.

Hard work is something Senior Sergeant Barnes is no stranger to, having put in some long hours in his career.

“I spent four years at arson squad and did a lot of work on those long, protracted investigations but when you have one that you get through and then you see the victim appreciates the work, it makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

“The hard work does pay off. We don’t always get the results that we want but so long as we are always putting our best foot forward, it’s not about getting the person convicted, it’s about the truth and putting the best case forward to the prosecution and going through courts, it’s a process of seeking the truth.”

Senior Sergeant Barnes said he is very much looking forward to the challenges of his new role at the Canning Vale Police station.

“My main aim is to increase the emphasis on community engagement, I want to build that strong connection between WA Police, Canning Vale Police Station and the Canning Vale community,” he said.

“I think that is where our success is if we engage in joint initiatives and that team approach to fighting crime and making the community safer.

“Canning Vale is an interesting one because it’s a thriving community with a lot of houses under construction and a lot of people moving into the area. It’s a very multi-cultural area because we are lucky here in Canning Vale because we have quite a diverse bunch of officers as well so that’s a good array to be able to meet that community expectation.

“And Metronet is coming to Thornlie, so there are going to be some challenges and interesting times ahead, so we are better resourced than we ever have been and the staff are enthusiastic.

“Also, the recent news with the cost-of-living increase, that has a flow on effect through to shop lifting and juvenile crime and the best way to tackle that is reach out and work collaboratively with the community and local businesses because that’s one small part of solving the puzzle,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Barnes said he is hoping his local knowledge and experience in his time at Gosnells Police station will be beneficial in his new senior role.

“I got to work really closely with local government and community in Gosnells and I think it’s not too dissimilar to working in Canning Vale, there’s a lot of similar issues and there’s quite a crossover between the two, so I felt it was a natural progression to be the Investigations Manager and then to move into the Senior Sergeant in charge role to take more of that leadership position,” he said.

It’s early days yet for Canning Vale’s new top cop, but he already has some simple, common sense crime prevention messages.

“My biggest message to people is opportunist thieves see things such as leaving doors unlocked or leaving valuables in cars as a golden opportunity to steal stuff.

“If you see something suspicious, it’s always good to report it.

“You might not necessarily think that it means a lot, but it is all about putting those pieces of the puzzle together and the timeline of events and your piece of the puzzle might add just that bit more to it.

“We have a big push on at the moment about CCTV footage and the Cities of Gosnells and Canning have a program where they provide a rebate, which is really good because the more cameras we have out there, the more crime prevention there is in place.

“It’s about everyone being alert and looking out for each other, I think we have moved away from that neighbourhood vigilance a bit and Crimestoppers is really good because we can use intelligence we gather from those and act on that and that filters into some proactive work we can do.”

The Crimestoppers number is 1800 333 000. Reports remain anonymous.