Freo's View

FRAUD DISCOVERED AT FREMANTLE PORTS

 

Fremantle Police have issued an arrest warrant for former Fremantle Ports employee Giacomo Merolla(54) and his wife Daniela Merolla(54) for alleged corrupt business practices between 2014 and 2020.

This comes after an internal investigation by Fremantle Ports found anomalies in expenditure patterns late last year, with possible fraudulent behaviour. The Ports reported the matter to Police and the Corruption and Crime Commissions.

Giacomo Merolla left Fremantle Ports before being dismissed. He and his wife left Australia earlier this years and are overseas.

More that one million dollars have been identified as having been transferred to bank accounts controlled by shelf companies. Police conducted a search warrant on a residence and storage unit, where they discovered $ 70,000.

Two people related to the couple have been arrested. A 23 year-old man from Woodvale and a 28 year-old woman from Wattle Grove have been charged with money laundering.

The alleged fraud involved the manipulation of the procurement of goods with local businesses, directing money to the benefit of the former Fremantle Ports employee.

Roel Loopers

 

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MAKING FREMANTLE A SAFER PLACE

 

Those who frequent Kings Square daily, as I do, are very aware of dozens of people gathering there, who often use foul language and who make the area feel unsafe to walk through. While the yelling is mostly not directed at passers by it still makes one uncomfortable, so it has been good to see over the last two weeks that there has been a no tolerance approach and that the larger groups no longer gather at Freo’s city square.

It is reassuring to hear that, yet again, the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to call for greater assistance from the State Government to provide more Police to manage community safety issues as ‘restart Fremantle’ efforts gain momentum.

With more businesses opening and visitors returning to the popular café and shopping strips in steadily-growing numbers, a stronger and more visible police presence has been urged to ensure people feel safe and welcome.

City and Chamber representatives have met with Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk and WA Police Fremantle Superintendent Kate Taylor to discuss a collaborative approach that Mayor Brad Pettitt said was necessary, and needed to go beyond normal operations.

“As more and more people are coming back into the city, we need to make sure Fremantle is a welcoming place and that people are able to experience the very best of Freo,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“To do this there is going to need to be greater resources and collaboration between the City of Fremantle, WA Police and social service providers including State Government agencies.

“We want people to receive the support services they need and also to send a strong message that Fremantle is back open and safe. We have a huge need to reinvigorate our city and we must all play our part in keeping Freo safe, secure and enjoyable for everyone.

“We pride ourselves on being a tolerant and supportive community but we are also a community that should not be afraid of calling out anti-social and inappropriate behaviour to make our city safe.”

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Danicia Quinlan said business operators wanted greater police visibility, particularly earlier in the day.

“There is a clear and direct connection between our Police and Community Safety Officers being visible and a decrease in petty crime and anti-social behaviour,” Ms Quinlan said.

“It is vital that we are all working together to create confidence and ensure businesses have the best chance to bounce back. We would also like to see a greater focus on lighting up the city to encourage people to be and about at night during winter, experiencing Fremantle’s unique heritage, surprise venues and cosy hotspots.”

Increased police vigilance and safety patrols, especially in the city centre, working with the City’s Community Safety Team would be welcomed by locals and visitors as well as complement the City’s own community safety services, Mayor Pettitt said.

“Our community safety team operates seven days a week patrolling all areas of the city but we rely on support from WA Police to address any anti-social behaviour as our officers do not have the power to arrest or move on and have a very limited ability to issue infringements for anti-social behaviour.

“The overwhelming evidence is that there also needs to be better supports for people in terms of accessing housing, metal health and other social services. We need these expanded social services the state government provides alongside a stronger focus from police and ongoing collaboration with the City of Fremantle to make our City as inviting and enjoyable as we know it can be,” he said.

Mayor Pettitt said the City would continue to work with local support agencies to address social disadvantage while also encouraging people to report issues to police and the City of Fremantle Community Safety team.

Roel Loopers

NEW FREO POLICE STATION NOT IN WOOLSTORES

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, police, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 24, 2020

 

Fremantle’s Silverleaf Investments owner Gerard O’Brien is not a happy man, according to the FREMANTLE HERALD, after the WA State Government announced it will be building its own new Freo Police Station, although it was put out to tender and the Woolstores site was shortlisted.

The Herald writes that Police Minister Michelle Roberts declared they have identified a suitable site in Fremantle, which is the good news, however, a state government property won’t have to pay local council rates, so this is not the best outcome for the cash-strapped City of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

RATES FREE DEVELOPMENT BAD FOR FREMANTLE

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Fremantle Councillor Adin Lang makes some very valid points about a new Freo police station in his Thinking Allowed opinion piece in the Fremantle Herald today.

Although the location for the new police station has not been announced yet by the State Government, the Woolstores development hopes to have the new cop shop there, while the Adelaide Plaza, St John’s site in Parry Street and the Cappuccino Strip carpark next to Fremantle Oval have also been rumoured to be candidates for the new building.

Adin Lang argues that building on the City owned carpark at South Terrace would deny Fremantle much-needed rates, around $ 400,000 per year, and it would delay the building as it would need design, planning approval, etc, while the Silverleaf Investments Woolstores development is ready to go.

The current Covid-19 climate has shown that Fremantle cannot afford to have more rates-free development. Fremantle does not receive rates from Notre Dame University, other educational institutions, churches, etc. and with a small ratepayers base, we need to push toward more regular revenue in Freo, instead on depending so much on parking fees and fines, which will disappear over time anyway because of autonomous cars and increasing use of Uber.

It is necessary that Fremantle Council gets these points across to Police Minister Michelle Roberts fast, before we lose out on more potential rates.

Roel Loopers

THANK YOU FREMANTLE POLICE

Posted in city of fremantle, family, police, Uncategorized by freoview on April 6, 2020

 

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There are really nice people in the world, as this photo I took this morning proves. Walking back from Chalkys cafe where I had my take-away double espresso, I noticed this man with his kids and dog painting Thank You Police on the pavement in High Street next to the Fremantle Police Station.

The man said the cops do so much for everyone in the community that we should show we appreciate them. I certainly do!

And to show what an amateur and incompetent journalist I am, I forgot to ask for the man’s name. Sorry, mate!

UPDATE! The man’s name is Rob Cashman and he is the president of the Fremantle RSL. Thanks again, Rob!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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CAPPUCCINO STRIP POLICE STATION?

Posted in city of fremantle, development, police, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 3, 2020

 

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There have been a lot of rumours and suggestions about where the new Fremantle Police Station could be built, and today I heard there is a possibility that it will be on the site of the current Cappuccino Strip carpark adjacent to Fremantle Oval.

My informant told me that the WA State Government does not want to lease a building, but construct a purpose built police station that could be 4-5 storeys high at South Terrace.

The Woolstores shopping centre in Cantonment Street, the St John’s ambulance site in Parry Street and the Adelaide Plaza in Adelaide Street were all considered to be options for a new police station, but the carpark site makes a lot of sense, and it would put a lot of-badly needed- money into the coffers of the City of Fremantle.

I fear though that all building projects might be on hold for years to come because of the extraordinary times we live in at present.

Roel Loopers

WHERE WILL NEW FREMANTLE POLICE STATION BE?

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, law&order, police, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 7, 2020

 

The Police Union is not happy with the safety of the Fremantle police station in High Street, and that is no surprise really as the former bank building is inappropriate for a police station, and it has no secure parking for police and staff vehicles, as the torching of three vehicles last weekend highlighted.

But Police Minister Michelle Roberts has indicated that the State Government has now identified the new location for a new Fremantle police station, and I wonder where that will be.

There were rumours of the new police station being part of the proposed Woolstores development in Cantonment Street, but also that the girls and boys in blue might take over the Adelaide Plaza in Adelaide Street, and the former St John’s ambulance site in Parry Street also came up as a possibility.

Michelle Roberts has indicated they will announce the new location soon, so stay tuned Freo.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE POLICE CAR TORCHER CHARGED

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, law&order, police, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on March 3, 2020

 

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Good to know that police have charged a 27-year-old man from Gosnells for the torching of three police cars in Leake Street on Sunday night.

Damage to the cars is estimated to be $ 160,000, so it is good to get people who commit these crimes off our streets.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE POLICE CARS TORCHED

Posted in city of fremantle, crime, law&order, police, Uncategorized by freoview on March 2, 2020

 

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There are some brainless idiots around, hey!

Three police cars were set on fire in Leake Street last night at the back of the Fremantle police station.

I have no time at all for those in our society who believe that they should be allowed to break the law and who verbally attack police officers, spit on them, behave violently, or damage police property.

Police officers are not malicious sadists who like to inflict pain upon the community, they do their job, so if you drive too fast, drink and drive, use your mobile phone while driving, steal, attack people, or break any of the laws and rules we as a society have set for ourselves, than just cough up, admit your mistake and don’t blame the police.

Without a solid police force we would live in chaos and anarchy, so show some respect for those out on the beat who do a bloody dangerous job when trying to keep us all safe.

The rate at which police officers have had to use force is up by 54%, due to drugs and a general lack of respect for police and  the community. Think about it!

Roel Loopers

CONFUSION ABOUT COMMUNITY SAFETY

 

There appears to have been a bit of miscommunication this morning when Fremantle traders were invited to a Community Safety Briefing, but when yet another speaker spoke about future social and housing solutions for homeless people, some in the public gallery became irate and wanted to express their concerns about antisocial behaviour, violence, shoplifting and begging. They were not very interested to hear about long term solutions, when they want immediate action.

One Market Street shopkeeper expressed that she feared she might have to stop trading because of the issues and that she herself might end up on the street, while others questioned the slow response time of police and Fremantle community safety officers, and asked if the number of officers dealing with these issues is adequate.

Mayor Brad Pettitt had said before the public interruption that one of the key issues was working together, while Minister Simone McGurk said a lot of resources were put in by Police in Fremantle and Perth CBD with a no tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour.

The state government were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social housing and housing for homeless facilities, using the best evidence from around Australia and the world as a cornerstone for the government policy. It was important to provide permanent, instead of transitional, housing and that had very good outcomes.

The Senior Sergeant in charge of Fremantle police said that Fremantle and Perth CBD were unique but that total crime reported since July last year was down by 5.6%, however retail theft was up by 22%.

The best crime prevention is police visibility, so there were more cops on the beat and on bikes and spread all over the day.

There were other speakers, and some who were there to speak but never got to it, so there is a lot of scope for the City to do better here and do a very specific safety forum for retailers, addressing the specific issues and trying to find specific solutions for the short and long term. Trying to cover everything, as was the case this morning, did not work and left traders frustrated.

Roel Loopers

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