Embattled Minister Tony Piccolo must address concerns raised by the Police Association of South Australia over a planned restructure of SAPOL.
In a letter to Minister Piccolo, President of the Police Association of South Australia, Mark Carroll, states:
“Without question, minister, the onus is on you to communicate your position on this issue to the entire Police Association membership. Men and women whose unique role is to put their lives on the line deserve to know.
And, right now, the most critical answer required of you is to the question of the promised recruitment of 313 (now 134) new police employees. Does your government intend to live up to or abandon that commitment?
The Police Association — and, I expect, the community — considers it your ministerial responsibility to compel the cabinet to grasp the full impact of imposed budget cuts on the police portfolio.
“Should this not be your intention, I would ask that you inform me accordingly so that I can, in turn, advise our members.”
“This is an entirely fair request from the Police Association,” said Shadow Police Minister John Gardner.
“At the last two elections the Labor Party has made significant claims about the extra resources they were going to put into police, and in particular they have been eager to seek headlines with their promise of 313 extra sworn police officers on the streets.
“The evidence given to the Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee couldn’t have been clearer: the projected number of sworn officers in 2018 is set to be just 54 more than was the case in 2010.
“Minister Piccolo needs to front up to this request from the Police Association.
“If he reaffirms the Government’s commitment he needs to explain how he is going to meet the promise despite the numbers given to the Budget and Finance Committee. And if he can’t then he should own up to the Government’s abject failure to deliver on this key promise to the people of South Australia.
“The Weatherill Labor Government has announced cuts to the Police budget of $80 million per year and the community has every right to be concerned.
"Any restructure of police must be focused on improving operational outcomes for better public safety, not on cost-cutting.”