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Royal Commission a Labor smoke screen: Police Minister
25/01/2001 8:05 AM
Today’s graduates from the Western Australian Police Academy will enter one of the best police services in the nation, Police Minister Kevin Prince said today.
“The WA Police Service has a new operational structure, it is supported by tough legislation and it is one of the best resourced in both operational equipment and facilities in Australia,” he said.
Mr Prince said the Coalition Government had spent eight years and $2.7 billion to help bring the service to the point where it now received national accolades.
providing an additional 500 officers and returning a further 300 to operational duties - this means WA now has the highest police to population ration of any State;
restructuring the service through the Delta program;
increasing officers’ pay by 27.7 per cent;
spending $57 million providing 28 new police facilities around WA;
replacing the previous service-based promotion process with a merit-based system;
providing police officers with civil liability protection;
increasing the death and disability benefit for police officers killed in the line of duty by 172 per cent; and -
legislating to ensure police officers have access to the industrial regulation.
Mr Prince said a 1999 national poll on honesty and ethics in Australian police services gave top billing of 73 per cent to Western Australian police.
“The annual Roy Morgan poll of professions rated WA police 11 per cent higher than the national average in these areas,” he said.
“In addition, recently retired Judge Kenneth Moore stated publicly in November last year that he considered the WA Police Service one of the best anywhere.”
Mr Prince said the Government had chosen to build up the service and to make it into something to be proud of, not hammer it into the ground as the Opposition planned to do.
“The Opposition’s long-standing allegations of corruption in the police service should be seen for what they are - an attack against police by a group of people desperate to disguise the fact that they have nothing to offer the public in the crucial area of law and order,” he said.
“They will use a Royal Commission to witch-hunt police in a blaze of publicity to disguise their paucity of solid initiatives and commitments.”
He said that under the mantle of a high profile inquiry the Opposition would also strip WA of its independent anti-corruption watch-dog - the ACC. The ACC investigates allegations of corruption anywhere in the public service and reports solely to Parliament, not to the Premier or a Minister.
“There are those in the Labor party who have long feared returning to power with such a watch-dog in place and they will not miss an opportunity to get rid of it," Mr Prince said.
“Yet the presence of the ACC in tandem with the Office of the Ombudsman and the police professional standards unit has contributed to the high standard of the police service today.
“There is no systemic corruption in the WA Police Service and it is pointless wasting $15 million of taxpayers’ money to prove it - it will be taxpayers’ money being used as a smokescreen to achieve political ends.”
Mr Prince said the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW police service spent $78 million with the end result that no charges were laid.
“However, it made a number of valuable recommendations including the need for an independent anti-corruption agency and doing away with the old squad system,” he said.
“The ACC and the Delta program were the result of the WA Government taking these recommendations on board here in WA.
“Yet Labor plans to do away with both and go back to the ‘good’ old days which resulted in crime almost doubling during its time in office.”
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 9220 5000