The team, created in 2016 to boost the police presence in the CBD, is the first port of call in the fight against antisocial behaviour and has become a familiar sight on Perth’s streets.
From welfare checks to reports of suspicious activities, domestic violence call-outs, and fights in nightclubs, the squad attends dozens of incidents every day, often involving violent offenders.
The officers, who patrol in pairs or small groups, are usually outnumbered by revellers, especially on the weekend, and have no patrol vehicle to seek refuge in.
“It is confronting, they are all juiced up on alcohol so it’s very hard to explain to an aggressive drunk person to calm down,” Senior constable Gausden said.
“On Friday and Saturday nights, there are a lot of times when we are outnumbered so we have to have each other’s backs to make sure that we can go home at the end of a shift.”
Senior constable Gausden, who dreamed of becoming a police officer since he was 10, said the secret to successfully patrolling the CBD was in building relationships with the community and there was no better way to do so than through humour.
“I always like to try to start with a joke,” the 34-year-old said.
“If you are screaming at someone, they are not going to do what you want, but if you can put a smile on someone’s face you build that rapport and you may be able to get somewhere with them.”
The team’s approach to dealing with offenders and compassion towards homeless people in Perth has landed them a nomination for the Police Excellence Awards by the Nyoongar Outreach Service.
Probationary constable Mindy Wiliams, who joined the force less than two years ago, said anti-police sentiment had grown in recent years, particularly on social media.
“I wish people remembered how much we help,” she said.
“Who’s the first person that everybody calls? We help way more people than we give out speeding fines. I’m proud of what I am doing and I’m still going to put the uniform on every day.”
Nominations for the WA Police Excellence Awards close on September 7. Winners will be announced at an event on December 10. The awards recognise police officers who demonstrate dedication and service to the people of WA and raise confidence in policing.
Marta is an award-winning photographer and journalist with a focus on social justice issues and local government.