Esperance Police appoint officer to prevent youth crime

Fresh approach: Senior constable Lucy Greenlees has been appointed the first ever Youth Police Officer in Esperance. Photo: Jake Dietsch.
Fresh approach: Senior constable Lucy Greenlees has been appointed the first ever Youth Police Officer in Esperance. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

In a first for Esperance, a dedicated 'youth police officer' has been appointed to the force.

Senior Constable Lucy Greenlees took on the role in her home town at the end of October, 2019.

Snr Constable Greenlees has been with Esperance Police since March on general duties, before becoming the station's first youth police officer.

She started her career in law enforcement as a cadet at age 17.

"I originally joined because I wanted to make a difference," the Snr Constable said.

"I remember in Year 10, I decided I wanted to be a police officer and I focused my schooling around that."

Snr Constable Greenlees started on front-line general duties, eventually moving into police intelligence.

The officer grew up and went to school in Esperance and said she was glad to have the opportunity to make a difference in her own community.

"My family is very involved with the community, so I feel like I can make my impact now as well," she said.

"I've always had a focus on community engagement with my role as a police officer.

"So this gives me an opportunity to engage with the community and now also to engage with youth where I can, and provide a positive impact where I can."

Snr Constable Greenlees has experience in working with youth, having previously managed priority offenders in Fremantle.

The main focus of her role in Esperance is early intervention. This will involve identifying young offenders or potential offenders and intervening and putting them into support programs.

Snr Constable Greenlees will also support the families of those youth.

She will work with existing government and non-government services in Esperance to help with programs they are already running.

"We will help and support them by providing recommendations from a police perspective and providing referrals, because usually we're the first ones to see these kids," Snr Constable Greenlees said.

She will also work with local schools who need help diverting students away from criminal behaviour.

Snr Constable Greenlees said the community could help police prevent youth crime by identifying someone who might be at risk and letting police know about programs that could help and how police could support them.

Esperance Police Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski said youth crime involved a variety of offending and usually came in spikes.

"Recently, we've had a significant increase in burglary offences... We've had issues in the past with spates of graffiti," he said.

"The role is about trying to get in as early as we can and engage with these kids and trying to steer them away from a life of offending at an early age."

The role has been introduced in several regional WA communities, including Kalgoorlie. The youth police officer role is now a permanent position at Esperance Police Station.