A crackdown on offences against the elderly and vulnerable promised four years ago by the Rann Government has faltered because police haven’t been properly trained in how to implement the new law.
Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said the gaffe highlighted the Rann Government’s preoccupation with law and order announcements rather than tangible attacks on crime and making the community safer.
“In July 2002 Premier Rann flagged his intention to introduce new legislation specifically covering ‘aggravated assault and other aggravated offences against the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable’,” Mr Lucas said.
“He even went so far as to ‘dedicate the legislation to Ivy Skowronski’. (Media release July 16 2002)
“Hopefully Mrs Skowronski wasn’t holding her breath because more than a year later – in August 2003 – with no legislation presented to Parliament, the Premier came back to remind us again that he proposed to introduce legislation, promising ‘massive changes’. (Media release August 5 2003)
“Yesterday the Government finally brought the legislation into operation. However, the Police hadn’t been trained in how to implement and enforce the law.
“This is a shocking betrayal of the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable people.
“This legislation was supposed to deter criminals. But if the police are unaware of the new laws, how can we expect criminals to be influenced by them?!
“It is now clear that although the Rann Government is always first in line to grab a headline with a law and order promise, its commitment to the less well publicised follow through is questionable.
“The South Australian community deserves better than announcement after announcement with little real commitment to improving community safety. The ongoing problem of violence and disorder in Hindley Street is a case in point.”