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Frontline Policing

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will commission a retired judge or senior lawyer to lead a review of all aspects of police work.

The Problem

Even though South Australia has the highest number of police per capita in the nation, we have one of the highest offender rates as well.

Latest annual figures (for 2015-16) show the total number of offenders in South Australia increasing at an annual rate of 5% to the highest since the time series began.

South Australia has the second highest offender rate of all states and territories, exceeded only by the Northern Territory.

The number of illicit drug offenders increased by 9%. In this category, South Australia has the highest rate across all states and territories at 1,117 offenders per 100,000 persons. The number of theft offenders increased by 38%, the biggest increase in almost a decade.

Our police are working in a very difficult and often overloaded environment. A simple arrest can often mean hours of paperwork with valuable time spent behind a desk rather than on the street.

There is also a huge backlog of cases waiting to be processed through our criminal justice system.

The bottlenecks need addressing to restore the timely application of justice.

Changes in technology have helped to speed up administrative functions but have also increased workloads, especially around new forms of evidence.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will commission a retired judge or senior lawyer to lead a review of all aspects of police work.

This review will develop a set of recommendations to streamline operations and get more police out protecting our community.

The reviewer will work with frontline police, the Police Association and senior police management to identify how to work smarter without compromising public safety.

Particular areas of focus will include:

  • Streamlining arrest and charging processes
  • Maximising use of auxiliaries and rapid justice initiatives to free up officers from minding suspects and arrestees in stations and transporting detainees
  • Reducing the amount of time police spend waiting in court to give evidence
  • Reducing bottlenecks within SAPOL to improve turnaround times for the production of evidence for trial
  • Reviewing technology use to reduce administrative burdens