Premier Mark McGowan has defended police resourcing in regional WA saying an officer responding alone to a triple-zero call which left man shot was an “exceptional circumstance”.
- Premier Mark McGowan says “exceptional circumstances” led to officer responding alone to call that led to shooting
- A police investigation into the incident in Pingelly is underway
- Senior officers will meet with community leaders
The man was shot in the torso when police said he ran towards the officer who responded in Pingelly, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The man is in a stable condition in Royal Perth Hospital and an investigation into the incident is underway.
Yesterday, Deputy Commissioner Allan Adams said resourcing issues meant only one officer could respond immediately and backed the constable’s decision to attend.
Resourcing not a problem: Premier
In a press conference today, Mr McGowan defended the officer’s decision to attend the call alone.
“A police officer called in sick on the day in question … [it was an] exceptional circumstance, and so a police officer went out on their own,” he said.
“That is an unusual event … it doesn’t happen often but on this occasion, because of the illness, that was what was required.”
When questioned whether regional police stations were adequately staffed, the Premier said WA has “the best resourcing of police in history”, and that 1,100 more officers were being recruited to the WA Police Force.
“1,100 additional police officers is about a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the police numbers across the state.
“We’re obviously in a very difficult environment for recruiting across the board, but we’re getting more police through the academy… and putting more police out there into police stations and regional communities around the state.”
WA Police Union declined to comment on the matter.
Acting Superintendent for the Great Southern region Glenn Spencer also defended the actions taken by the officer.
“The officer concerned made a critical decision … he put the community’s safety first and he went out by himself, and I don’t think he can be criticized for that,” he said.
Police to meet with community leaders
Acting Superintendent Spencer said Great Southern Police would be meeting with Aboriginal elders from the community today in order to “understand what actually happened.”
“The biggest fear is that someone tries to distil this down to just being police shooting another Aboriginal man, and it’s far more complicated than that.”
Deputy Commissioner Adams said it was not “normal practice” to have one officer respond to a serious incident, but praised the constable’s response.
“Whilst it’s not desirable a single officer attend an event like this… I don’t sit here in any way saying that the police officer shouldn’t have gone,” he said.
“The officer made an assessment at that time that it was in the best interest of the community to attend straight away. He could not have foreseen what was to eventuate and I’m sure if he did, he would’ve waited a bit longer .”