AN experienced detective has disputed comments made by Tasmania Police command that the South had lost only one detective inspector after last year's restructure.
Southern Commander Peter Edwards said there had been no reduction in the number of operational detectives.
"Four detective inspector positions were reduced to three in the new Southern district; a reduction of one Criminal Investigation Branch management position," he said.
But police union leader Pat Allen yesterday said that a "significant" reduction in Southern detectives since the restructure, had meant that less serious crimes were not being investigated as thoroughly as they used to be.
A union member and Southern detective, with 10 years' experience, supported Constable Allen's claims and said the Hobart CIB had been reduced to a handful of members.
"Now in 2013, on paper, we have 17 detectives," said the officer, who declined to be named.
"But when you account for one person on long-term sick leave, one on maternity leave, one or two on annual leave, possibly another off on a secondment, a taskforce or another job, and then you also factor in, probably two on crime car duties, and another two on days off, that brings us back to eight or nine people on the floor.
"That is what we have been living with for the last nine months.
"The classic case in point was, in the last week or so, when we did the co-ordinated searches we had a number of officers off assisting with those.
"At the time it was called in as a murder and there were two officers available to deal with it.
"It ended up being a common assault."
The detective said the problem was that the "simple stuff" was not getting done and relied on the goodwill of members to complete.
"Since the restructure, it has gotten progressively worse," he said.
The dispute comes amid a continuing war of words about crime statistics.
Police Minister David O'Byrne said on Monday that statistics which Constable Allen had taken from the internal police database "were different to the figures that I've got, they're just a piece of paper as far as I'm concerned".
The statistics showed a spike across most crimes in the South for the year ending September 16, 2013.