Up to 200 fewer police officers will be delivered over the next two years than the number promised by the Labor Government at the 2010 election, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
Police Commissioner Mal Hyde yesterday told the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee that recent budget cuts meant it was estimated there would be 4,500 FTE police officers in June 2014 when the Labor Government had promised 4,700 FTE police officers. In fact Mr Hyde said between June this year and next year there would be no net increase in police numbers (4,470 FTEs).
Mr Hyde said this was a result of cuts announced in the Mid-Year Budget Review as well as the impact of other budget cuts which had been imposed in previous budgets.
“This Labor broken promise means Mr Hyde has less flexibility in terms of increasing permanent police numbers in particular areas, such as the Crime Gangs Taskforce,” Mr Lucas said.
“Mr Hyde conceded there had been no increase in Taskforce numbers for 4-5 years, but he had increased numbers on a temporary basis by transferring officers from Local Service Areas.
“Mr Weatherill needs to explain yet another Labor broken promise to South Australians as they worry about their safety due to the actions of bikie gangs.”
Other evidence from Mr Hyde to the Committee included:
Consultants Deloitte had been paid more than $400,000 over two years to fix major errors in workers‟ compensation payments to police officers. Hundreds of police officers were paid a total of $429,468 in back pay and interest due to the errors and a yet to be disclosed amount of money overpaid to officers was “written off‟ at a cost to taxpayers
Discussions were continuing about potential amendments to the Police Act to allow for drug and alcohol testing of police officers whilst at work, and also DNA testing of police officers
The DPP was still considering whether certain public servants involved in „Cartridgegate‟ might be charged with offences
Some budget cuts being contemplated by the DPP involved significant cost shifting to SAPOL and were still being negotiated
“It is clear from Mr Hyde‟s evidence that the details and implications of significant budget cuts are only now being outlined and clearly understood,” Mr Lucas said.