The Hodgman Liberal Government came to office promising to restore police numbers to 1233 after former Labor Police Minister David O’Byrne callously axed 108 officers from the frontline,
The 2016/17 DPFEM Annual Report confirms we are delivering on that promise, with an additional 66 constables added over the reporting period and police numbers being restored to 1206 as at 30 June 2017.
A strong police service is essential to tackling crime, and we make no apologies for restoring numbers and sending a strong message to criminals that if you do the crime, you will be caught and face the consequences.
Of course, crime statistics do fluctuate year to year. Home burglaries have decreased by 18 per cent, and public place assaults are also down. Serious crime is up 11 per cent, but a number of one-off personal crimes have inflated that figure, including nine murders (compared to two the year before). Importantly, all of these crimes have been cleared, and the clearance rate for serious crime has improved to 84 per cent.
Tasmania also still has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, with ABS stats from July confirming the state has the lowest or equal lowest victim rate for the majority of offence categories in 2016.
We will continue to rebuild Tasmanian police and crack down on crime to ensure Tasmanians are safe, which is in stark contrast to Labor who have blocked guaranteed jail time for child sex offenders, those who assault frontline workers, and those convicted of evading police for the third time.
Other pleasing aspects of the Report include significant upgrades being completed to police housing, especially in the state’s north west, after it was left to crumble under Labor, and the ongoing rollout of the new Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch system.
The new system will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our emergency response departments, resulting in both increased safety for those on the frontline and more Tasmanian lives saved in emergency situations, and I am very pleased the rollout has been successful and is now online and being used by Tasmania Police.