Labor set to abandon extra police promise

Police Commissioner Grants Stevens’ revelation to a Parliamentary Committee that Labor’s promise to recruit an additional 300 police officers cannot be met within the current budget is at odds with comments in State Parliament by new Police Minister Malinauskas. 

Police Minister Peter Malinauskas said in Parliament on 11 February 2016:

I am very pleased to inform members that it is very much this government’s intention to honor its ‘recruit 313’ target as outlined a number of years ago by this government. (Hansard, 11 February 2016)

However, Police Commissioner Grants Stevens said today in the Budget and Finance Committee that the Government’s target to recruit an additional 300 police by 2018 will not be met within the current budget.

“The Police Commissioner advised the Budget and Finance Committee that an additional $8 million is required to meet the current promise, which was first made in 2010,” said Shadow Police Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan

“How many times can this Labor Government break one very important promise to the people of South Australia?”

“Last year’s SAPOL Annual Report revealed that there were 48 fewer police officers on our streets this year compared to 2014.

Active sworn police officers (including community constables) 

30 June 2014 – 4522.7
30 June 2015 – 4474.8

“At two successive elections, and two by-elections, South Australia’s community was promised 300 more police on the beat to ensure safer streets

“Was Minister Malinauskas aware SAPOL could not meet the Weatherill Government’s target within the current budget when he made his statement in Parliament?

“Or has Minister Malinauskas already received approval from Treasurer Koutsantonis to increase SAPOL’s budget by $8m and not told the Police Commissioner?