Police union warns of spending cuts

IN THE first signs of a fracture in its relationship with the state government, the police union has warned of looming spending cuts in tomorrow's budget.

The political salvo a day before the Liberals' first budget in 16 years goes right to one of the government' s strongest messages - that it's rebuilding a police service decimated by Labor.

The Police Association of Tasmania actively campaigned against former police minister David O'Byrne at the last election and instead supported the Liberals, who were promising to beef up frontline police.

But yesterday association president Pat Allen revealed that the government had been exerting pressure on the service to cut costs and the funding for recruits had so far come out of the existing police budgets.

"The Police Association of Tasmania is concerned at reports being received from many areas of the police service that their already overstretched budgets are going to be slashed yet again with pressure being applied to cut costs," he said.

"The government stated that (new) positions would be fully funded, yet so far the money for recruits has had to be found by the police service."

Constable Allen put the government on notice, warning that the association would "be watching these developments very closely, because they are actions against the spirit of growing our numbers back to 1228".

The tough talk precedes a budget predicted to be full of public sector job cuts and a proposed wage freeze.

Earlier this month the government announced a review of the corporate services section within the Department of Police and Emergency Services.

Constable Allen said he was concerned that the budget cuts may affect Tasmania Police's civilian staff, which could ultimately impact frontline services.

One consequence of the former government's budget cuts in 2011-12 was that police officers found themselves carrying out jobs of retrenched civilian staff.

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