WA Police will team up with the Education Department in the next school term to combat truants.
Operation Redirect – described as a follow-on from Operation Safe Place, in which children and teenagers were removed from train stations and placed in safe facilities at night – will start on July 24 and involve every school in the metropolitan area.
Any child who is found by police outside school grounds during school hours, unaccompanied by an adult or without a leave pass, will be returned by police to their school.
School staff will inform the parents of the child, giving them the location where the child was found and the details of the police officer, along with a police contact number for any parents with concerns.
The police operation is supported by theindependent and Catholic school sectors as well as the Education Department.
The department’s executive director of statewide services, Juanita Healy, said the operation would improve links between WA Police and the education sector.
“Many public schools already have relationships with local governments, businesses, other educational institutions and government and non-government agencies to support their work in student attendance,” she said.
“With Operation Redirect comes an opportunity to work more closely with WA Police in the community effort to boost student attendance.”
WA Police judicial services Acting Assistant Commissioner Jon Tuttle said there would be no official change to WA Police policy.
“As always police will treat each situation they encounter on its merits,” he said.
“The initiative provides officers with another option for police through the establishment of a jointly agreed protocol to return children to the school they should be attending.”
The North Metropolitan Education Region, which includes public schools in the Eastern Reporter district, has an attendance rate of 92.29 per cent – the highest of any education region in the State.