Former Tasmania Police Commander says officers in court as security is 'ridiculous'

Former Tasmania Police Commander and current MLC, Ivan Dean.
Former Tasmania Police Commander and current MLC, Ivan Dean.

Keeping police in the courts is “absolute nonsense”, according to former Northern Commander Ivan Dean.

Mr Dean, now an independent member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council, said he first raised the issue of officers being used as security in the courts back in 2001.

More than 16 years later and the government says it’s a “complex issue” that’s still being worked on.

“We have a government saying they’re considering the issue, for God’s sake it’s gone on for 16 years,” Mr Dean said.

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“It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous that sworn officers are in there on babysitting duties and the government needs to get in and do something about it.”

Mr Dean said he continued to push the issue as an MLC but said “you get to a point where you are belting your head against a brick wall”. 

“They cannot come up with a reasonable explanation at all, it’s simply something they don’t want to fix,” he said.

His comments come after a four-week trial in the Launceston Supreme Court where eight officers sat in as security every single day. 

On Friday the Police Association of Tasmania told The Examiner that having the officer’s in the trial cost more than $95,000 and 2500 “man-hours” – reigniting the debate on the issue. 

Tasmanian Police Association president Pat Allen.

Tasmanian Police Association president Pat Allen.

A state government spokesman said the government remained “committed to getting police out of the courts and back on the beat, and work continues to that effect”.

The opposition said, however, that the government had “done nothing” to alleviate the concerns of police.

“It's critical that our courts are safe but it shouldn't be the responsibility of Tasmania Police … we have committed $900,000 over three years to fund alternative security arrangement in the court system,” Labor Bass MHA Michelle O’Byrne said.