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Policing the streets

The State Liberals are warning the restructuring of SA Police’s operational districts will not reduce crime while the government continues to break its promise to increase the number of sworn police officers.

“There is a direct relationship between the level of crime and the number of police on the beat and it is no surprise that we have seen an increasing number of criminal offences whilst police numbers remain stagnant,” said Shadow Minister for Police Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“Reducing the number of police districts from 6 to 4 will have little to no effect on rising crime levels if police numbers continue to stagnant.

“Last week’s SAPOL annual report shows an overall 3.3 per cent increase in crime in 2015-16 with stealing related offences up 8.4 per cent, housebreaking offences up 5.8 per cent and theft from shops jumping by 16.7 per cent.”

The Weatherill Government has repeatedly failed to deliver on its promise to recruit 313 additional sworn officers.

In this year’s State Budget the Weatherill Labor Government pushed the promise to recruit additional officers out, from its original date of 2014, to 2020.

Labor’s original promise, made prior to the 2010 election, was for ‘300 more police on our streets over the next four years.’ 13 transit police were subsequently included, bringing the total to 313.

The original deadline for recruiting 313 additional sworn police officers was first extended to 2016 before it was pushed out to 2018 and now 2020.

“It is instructive that the Victorian Labor Government has recently committed to hiring an additional 2729 officers in the next 4 years. Victoria will add 680 police officers a year for four years whilst the Weatherill Government will add just 31 per year over a decade.

“I’m extremely concerned that community safety has been undermined by the Weatherill Government’s budget cuts.

“It is unacceptable that the Weatherill Government’s promise of additional police would be pushed back at a time when Labor is also closing police stations and severely downgrading the operating hours of others.

“Coupled with station closures and downgrades, pushing back the recruitment of 313 police officers until 2020 is putting the South Australian community at risk.”