VICTIMS of burglary, property damage and other “less urgent” crimes could be the loser in a battle of competing priorities when the police redundancy program starts to take effect.
That’s the warning issued by Police Association president Randolph Wierenga this week, as about 60 police officers statewide contemplate offers of voluntary redundancy.
Sergeant Wierenga said operations like the inter-district Ravenswood double murder investigation would become more problematic as police numbers continued to fall.
“There’s no doubt that when you have got a major investigation like that, people have to drop everything to solve these major crimes, and that means the “less important” stuff falls by the wayside,” he said.
“If you have a detective who was intending to investigate four or five burglaries today, and they are pulled on to a serious crime investigation, that means that they may never get time to investigate those burglaries as time goes by.
“Unfortunately, that’s a bad outcome for the victims of those crimes.”
Sergeant Wierenga said police had always pulled resources on to serious crimes, but the impact of that would be felt more with less front-line police.
“You can’t do more with less,” he said.
Western District Commander Lachland Avery agreed.
“You take numbers away, it’s got to affect service,” Commander Avery said.
“We jiggle around if something major goes on. You have just got to prioritise what’s going to affect community safety.”
Sergeant Wierenga said about 60 police had been offered a voluntary redundancy package, as part of Tasmania Police’s four-year budget strategy to shrink by about 100 positions to a strength of 1120.
Most of those who expressed interest in the redundancy were from the Southern and Eastern districts. Take-up was lowest in the North.
It’s understood a financial incentive of up to $20,000 was included in the package to encourage people to leave early.
Some police have already gone, and those who accept the redundancy are expected to leave by the end of the month.
Commander Avery said the Western District had already lost 18 members in the past three years.
He said they were drafting a proposal to the Commissioner on how to deliver effective first-response policing with reduced numbers, as part of a statewide structural review.
Police Commissioner Darren Hine, speaking about a 4 per cent reduction in policing benchmarks this week, said police would not be expected to do the same work with reduced resources.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.