THE police union has defended the ``life-saving'' work of Tasman Peninsula police officers during the January bushfires, after it says they were unfairly criticised in the Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry Report.
Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen said the local police officers had multiple roles during the emergency.
He said officers sent from Bellerive, under threat from the fire, still went down side roads to warn the public about the impending danger.
``It was local police who arranged and set up evacuation centres with other emergency services,'' Constable Allen said.
``All this was done with little or no information coming to them from senior management.''
He said the officers did the best job they could with their available resources.
``Clearly, the issues identified in the report are pointed directly at senior police management,'' Constable Allen said.
``No one should doubt in any way that local police and other emergency services made decisions that saved lives.
``In many cases, police officers and other emergency services found themselves operating in an information vacuum, but the unfolding and extremely dynamic situation required instantaneous responses.''
Constable Allen said police and other emergency services were forced to use personal mobile phones to communicate.
He said this was unacceptable, because fire could damage mobile telecommunications towers.
``There have been no efforts before the report to improve communications between emergency services, even by issuing UHF radios,'' Constable Allen said.
``All Tasmania Fire Service and State Emergency Service vehicles on the peninsula have UHF radio.
``UHF radios would enable police to hear what was happening.''
The Police and Emergency Management Department aims to implement a whole-of-government radio network between 2018 and 2020.