25/06/2020 | Corey Wingard MP

A snapshot of state and territory police forces shows satisfaction with South Australian officers and their response to emergency situations is among the highest in the country.

The Report on Government Services looks at the performance of governments in key areas aimed at improving the well-being of all Australians.

The report is produced by the Productivity Commission for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision and is released in January each year.

This year the Commission is trialling a mid-year release of data that wasn’t available for the earlier publication.

Among the release today is information around crime victimisation and the performance of police forces.

The data shows in 2018-19 South Australia had 4,563 sworn operational officers – the highest number in seven years.

Minister for Police Corey Wingard said it illustrates the Marshall Government’s commitment to growing our frontline.

“When we came into Government we made a promise to all South Australians to make their safety and security a top priority,” Minister Wingard said.

“We’ve invested heavily in the force since then and it’s pleasing to see the perception of our force is right up there when compared to other states and territories.

“General satisfaction results show that 81.5% of people surveyed were satisfied with SAPOL - the second highest result in the country.

“75.1% of people surveyed as part of the report agree with the statement that police treat people fairly and equally – that’s also the second highest in the country. 87.2% of people agree with the statement that our police perform their job professionally – third highest in the country.

There is acknowledgement that more needs to be done to increase Indigenous staff and SAPOL continues to promote its Reconciliation Action Plan and through that has seen an increase of six additional Community Constables employed taking the total number to 42 in the metropolitan area.

Complaints against police increased but to the increase is in response to legislative changes to the Police Complaints and Discipline Act in 2017.

The former Act allowed the then Ombudsman to triage complaints before forwarding to SAPOL.

This resulted in those which were clearly vexatious, without basis, or plainly did not raise any issues of discipline being resolved by the Ombudsman without referral to SAPOL.

The current Act requires the Office for Public Integrity to refer all complaints to SAPOL.

Other results of note include South Australia recording the third lowest rate of motor vehicle thefts in the country, the third lowest rate of armed robbery, and the fourth lowest rate of sexual assault.