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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Police Academy UK: Luke Elsbury

Luke Elsbury

From: Kalgoorlie, Australia

Age: 30 years

Rank: 1st Class Constable

Interests: Loves beer.

Mission in the UK: PC Elsbury is here to find out how we deal with teen drinkers and hoodies. Most of his UK training comes from watching The Bill.

Facts: Luke was in a bank that got robbed, so he joined the police as he was so impressed with their dealing of the crime.

Other: Luke has been a police officer for seven and a half years and is currently a First Class Constable. He currently works in the Goldfields-Esperance district which covers over 800,000 square kilometres. His district is the largest policing district in the world – over three times the size of the United Kingdom.

Luke deals with assaults, domestics, disturbances and traffic offences and his officers place a strong focus on targeting anti-social behaviour, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD).

Kalgoorlie is a mining town with a long-running drinking culture and is one of the only places in Australia where you can walk from pub to pub and drink 24 hours a day.

Luke feels that alcohol abuse is an ongoing problem for his district as anti-social behaviour and alcohol abuse seem to go hand in hand. Several pubs in Kalgoorlie have been rated as the most violent in Australia.

Why did you decide to take part in the show? I took part in the show not only to compare and develop my skills as a country copper but also for the life experience because I had never been to the UK before. It really was a chance of a lifetime for me, I'm still not sold on your 'warm' ales though...

How did you find the experience?

The whole experience was certainly an eye opener for a bloke from sunny Kalgoorlie! I felt like a fish out of water at first coming from a small country town but the UK people were so friendly and accommodating which certainly helped me feel welcome in a foreign country.

What surprised you most about British policing?

I was very surprised just how tolerant UK coppers are compared to where I'm from. There were plenty of occasions where I would have ordinarily locked someone up because in my opinion they had crossed the line. I don't like to see people disrespect police and think it's unacceptable when there are no consequences for their behaviour.

Did you pick up anything from your time with the British police that you will take back to your own force?

I learnt that community policing does have a place in modern day policing which, before this experience, I thought was a waste of time.

I learnt that UK Police are going back to more traditional styles of policing (bicycles, community support officers, neighbourhood policing). This seems to be well received by the UK community so I am trying to get police bicycles up and running in Kalgoorlie, something which hasn't been done for 10 years.

What was the biggest difference between our police force and yours?

One of the biggest differences between our police services is the weapons we carry. I carry a Glock 40 calibre pistol with 31 rounds of ammunition and a taser as part of my standard kit, as does every other police officer on patrol in Western Australia. It seems most police in the UK have never even fired a gun.

I think in today's world with terrorist attacks, gang violence and the like, UK officers should be better equipped. A stab vest just doesn't cut it for me!

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