Stronger and Safer Communities

Putting Police Back in our Regions

Labor is committed to building stronger and safer communities.

We have a strong track record in government of keeping communities safe and crime rates low.

Unfortunately, under the Liberals total crime rates increased by 9.4 per cent last year – with serious crime up by more than 10 per cent.

Labor will complete the current program to restore police numbers to 1228.

But despite an increase in police numbers, these resources have not been allocated where they are needed most – on the beat in our towns and communities.

A Majority Labor Government will make smart investments in our police service, with a focus on bolstering community policing in rural towns and communities right around the State.

Labor is concerned that many rural stations lack the capacity to backfill when officers go on leave or are sick – leaving communities without a nearby police presence.

Over our first term Labor will recruit an additional 31 police officers. Labor will work with the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management to ensure these resources are focussed on first response, with a particular focus on rural and regional areas.

Labor has already announced policies that will assist in putting police back on the beat in communities.

We will relieve police of court duties in the North and North West, freeing up an estimated 10 police officers per day.

Federal Labor has also committed to restoring an Australian Federal Police presence at Hobart International Airport. The $13 million commitment will free up around 16 Tasmania police officers to be based back in the community, where they belong.

Labor will conduct a review of non-operational roles currently being performed by uniformed officers, with a view to returning as many people as possible to first-response areas.

The combined impact of State and Federal Labor’s policies will be to put up to 57 more police officers back on the beat.

Cost: $7.58 million over four years.

Station upgrades

Labor will provide an additional $4 million to refurbish and modernise community police stations around the state.

Priorities will be determined in consultation with Tasmania Police and the Police Association of Tasmania.

Cost: $4 million over four years

Police Dogs

Tasmania is the only state that does not use general duties police dogs.

General duties dogs are trained for many situations such as tracking offenders who are on foot, particularly after car thefts and evades.

They can also be used to find missing people and assist with the control of crowds.

Despite a successful trial of general duties dogs, no action has been taken by the Liberals to train dogs of our own.

Labor will fund three general duties dogs – one for the North, South and Western districts.*

Cost: $1.02 million over four years

Protecting those who protect us

Labor is committed to looking after the physical and emotional wellbeing of police on the front line.

The incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst emergency service personnel is way too high.

Labor will support physical and emotional wellbeing programs across the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management.

And for emergency services personnel who experience PTSD as a result of their work, we have committed to introducing presumptive PTSD legislation within our first term.

Protecting Emergency Services Workers on our Roads

Labor will adopt laws recently introduced interstate to protect emergency services workers on our roads.

The laws will require motorists to safely slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing or a siren sounding.

This proposal is consistent with laws in place to protect road workers and school busses stopping to drop off or pick up students.

Review of the Police Act

Labor will review the Police Act 2005 to ensure it keeps pace with the rapidly changing law enforcement environment.

We commit to close consultation with all stakeholders, including the Police Association of Tasmania as part of this process.

We will also conduct a review of the organisational structure of the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management to ensure it is effective and that funding arrangements are transparent.

The review will take into account the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry Into The State Fire Commission 2016, particularly in relation to funding arrangements for the Tasmanian Fire Service and State Emergency Service.

Tasmanian Government Radio Network

Labor will commit to continuing the long overdue Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN) program.

The Network will provide interoperability between Tasmanian police, SES, ambulance, and firefighters, which was a key recommendation of the review into the 2013 Dunalley bushfires.

There has been anecdotal evidence of radio scanners being used to monitor sensitive police communications, including in domestic violence situations and organised crime. The updated network will also provide greater security for sensitive radio communications.

*estimated cost of purchasing and training a general duties dog is $60,000 plus the cost of a transport vehicle. The police service already has specialised police dog handlers for drug and explosive detection. Additional funding will be provided across the forward estimates to bolster this capability.