‘Unfortunate reality’: Mandurah police endure 18 serious assaults in less than two years

In June this year, this Mandurah Police officer was allegedly bitten on her neck by an 18-year-old Halls Head woman in custody, at the Mandurah Police Station.

In June this year, this Mandurah Police officer was allegedly bitten on her neck by an 18-year-old Halls Head woman in custody, at the Mandurah Police Station.

Eighteen serious assaults on Mandurah police officers have been reported to the WA Police Union in less than two years, with the local officer in charge saying it was an “unfortunate reality” of policing.

Officers in the frontline of duty have been choked, bitten, ‘king-hit’, punched in the face, kicked in the head and received broken bones.

These assaults were reported to the WA Police Union between January 1, 2017 and October 7, 2018.

The union is not notified of every assault.

The statistics are backed up by data collated by the Mandurah Mail, which shows nine public officer assault charges went before the Mandurah Magistrates Court in September. 

This includes attacks on police, security and paramedic assaults. 

The WA Police Union have confirmed an officer received a fractured hand and ligament damage after struggling with an offender in January 2017.

Later that month, an officer was pushed, punched and kicked in the head twice after he attempted to arrest an offender in Secret Harbour. 

It’s an unfortunate reality of policing that most officers are assaulted a number of times during their careers.

Mandurah Police Senior Sergeant Darren Hart

An officer was ‘king-hit’ at an out-of-control gathering of 150 teenagers near the Madora Bay Lookout in June. 

During an arrest in July, a detective was grabbed around the neck and pushed against furniture “restricting his breathing” and in October, an officer was punched three times to his face, breaking his nose. 

There were three serious instances of biting assaults. 

In June this year, a police officer was allegedly bitten on her neck by an 18-year-old Halls Head woman in custody at the Mandurah Police Station.

That’s one less officer on the front line while they recover from their injuries.

Mandurah Police Senior Sergeant Darren Hart

Chloe Shannen June Power-Leo, 18, has not entered a plea to five charges including assaulting a public officer and disorderly behaviour in a police station.

She is due to reappear in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on November 20. 

Mandurah District Senior Sergeant Darren Hart said assaults were an “unfortunate reality” of policing.

“It’s an unfortunate reality of policing that most officers are assaulted a number of times during their careers,” he said. 

Police officers give their all for the community and do not deserve to be assaulted while they are doing their job.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury

“These assaults are viewed very seriously by the courts with mandatory prison terms where an officer suffers an injury as a result of an assault.”

Senior Sergeant Hart said assaults can have “serious, long-term” impacts on the health of officers. 

“There’s a significant personal cost for those officers and their families but it also costs the community – that’s one less officer on the frontline while they recover from their injuries,” he said. 

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said any assault on a police officer was unacceptable, “regardless of the severity”.

“These statistics were the more serious assaults police have experienced in the Peel region,” he said. 

“Police officers give their all for the community and do not deserve to be assaulted while they are doing their job.

“Assaulting a police officer is never acceptable and it appears the low level of respect is still an issue, along with the complicating factors of alcohol and other drug use.

“We hope mandatory sentencing and the soon-to-be-introduced body worn video will act as a stronger deterrent for people to think twice before they assault a police officer.”

In July 2017, the state government and WA Police committed to supplying stab proof ballistic vests to protect officers on the frontline.

In August, WA Police commissioner Chris Dawson announced 200 body cameras would be deployed within the Perth District by early 2019, increasing to 3,500 users across the state by the end of 2021.