December 5, 2017

Police budget cuts threaten community safety

Community safety will be threatened by the quarter of a billion dollar budget cut being forced on WA Police by the McGowan Government.

Shadow Police Minister Peter Katsambanis said the Premier and Police Minister could spin the numbers any way they liked but less officers on the frontline would be the unavoidable consequence of cuts of this magnitude.

“The McGowan Government has sent its strongest signal yet that community safety is not a priority,” Mr Katsambanis said.

“The McGowan Government is imposing significant and disruptive changes on the WA Police force while cutting the pay of the majority of the serving personnel and slashing the budget; it’s a recipe for disaster.

“Premier McGowan is treating not just the serving men and women of Western Australia’s police force with utter contempt but also the public.

“He waited until after the Legislative Assembly had risen for summer recess to avoid the heat of parliamentary scrutiny on this decision to de-prioritise community safety.”

Mr Katsambanis said the contempt was compounded by the Premier and Police Minister’s claim that the cuts were necessary for budget repair.

“That claim has no credit when both debt and deficit increased in the McGowan Government’s first budget,” Mt Katsambanis said.

“The Liberal Opposition will always support well-planned and effectively implemented efficiencies within any public sector but to arbitrarily slash budgets with no planning, especially in areas as vital as policing, is dangerous,.

“If the Premier really wanted to fix the budget he would take a machete to the systematic pork barrelling going on in marginal electorates.

“Minister Roberts has failed Western Australia’s front line police officers; she should be insisting the Government abandon some of its extravagant election commitments in order to maintain the police budget.

“While we support the right of the Commissioner of Police to make operational changes and implement his own strategy, he is now going to have to do it with his hands tied behind his back.”

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