With almost 30 years experience in the force, including more than two decades as a detective, Geraldton’s newest Inspector Colin Keen comes equipped with the skills to deal with even the most heinous of crimes. Insp. Keen moved to Geraldton in mid-December to take on a new role after he oversaw major crime in forensic field operations and digital forensics in Perth. He has a knack for tech crime and has big plans to improve the digital software in Geraldton. For most of his policing career before making the move to Geraldton, Insp. Keen was involved in homicide, armed robbery and sex assault investigations, but he is also highly qualified in digital forensics and introduced new and innovative improvements to police digital systems. “Anywhere I see in inefficiencies that can be done better by the use of technology, that’s what I’ll increase,” he said. When Insp. Keen was the top cop at Cannington police station, he brought in new technology that changed the way police ran operations. It resulted in better outcomes and results for police and put Insp. Keen in the line for a promotion to forensics. “I’ve used some different software applications when I was at Cannington to increase the rates of identifying offenders through CCTV footage and pictures. One of those initiatives resulted in a significant amount of historic arrests over a short period of time,” he said. “Some of those sorts of initiatives I’m going to bring up here ... there’s a lot of things that are done differently in other areas and some of those faster, more innovative-type ways of doing business can increase efficiency for the officers as well as identify crooks faster.” Although his career has been centred in the metropolitan area, Insp. Keen said he was familiar with regional WA. He was born in Wyalkatchem in the Wheatbelt and raised in South Hedland. He said the Geraldton station was quite similar to Cannington — it was busy and covered varying districts and levels of socioeconomic status. “In Geraldton you’ve got areas where there’s more problems than other areas, but the general problems that have occurred since COVID are reflected across the whole of the State,” he said. “Whilst we had a really nice period of less volume crime, less burglaries when COVID first hit, when that occurred family violence and things in the home increased. People losing their jobs causes frictions in families; all of those sorts of things that came into play.” Insp. Keen said the station was heavily involved in tackling the surge of domestic violence across the region and a new plan would be rolled out in the coming weeks to better manage and reduce it. Insp. Keen said family assaults in the Mid West-Gascoyne were up 14.5 per cent a year over the past four years on average. “That’s quite substantial, you know, you’re talking hundreds of offences a year,” he said. “Whilst we’re putting in place all these methods to look at what that looks like, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s decreasing, so we need to look at how we’re going to manage that a bit better. “There needs to be more follow up with the victims and a bit more protection of them. We need to follow up with the perpetrators a bit as well and get them heading in the right path, not the wrong path, so to speak. But as well as that is making sure stakeholders that are involved in the whole process are held to account for their role as well; it’s not just a policing role. “(Family violence) leads not only to other offences, but it leads to more problematic social dynamics ... and of course the harm to the children and witnesses.” Insp. Keen prides himself on making a positive impact on people’s lives. One case that remains strong in his memory is when a young girl who had suffered historic sexual offences opened up to police and Insp. Keen brought the offender to court and helped guide the survivor through the process. Insp. Keen said she broke free from addiction, overcame attempts to take her own life and completed her academic studies after the offender was brought to justice. She now lectures at universities and is in a healthy relationship with a police officer. “Those sorts of things is where I think ‘OK, my job made a difference to that person in their life’,” Insp. Keen said.