In August, The Examiner attended a four-week Supreme Court trial in Launceston.
The case involved six accused people. For security reasons, eight police officers had to sit in the court all day, every day for the full four weeks.
In Hobart, this isn’t necessary. Instead, correctional officers provide the security.
After a verdict was reached, The Examiner revealed it cost about $95,000 to have those police officers in court. It also added up to about 2500 man-hours. That’s 2500 hours not spent in our community, patrolling the streets or responding to incidents.
After the issue was yet again raised, both the Liberal and Labor parties said they were committed to removing police from the Launceston and Burnie Supreme Courts.
However, neither were able to give a plan. The issue was cited as complex.
When asked, Labor said they would pledge $900,000 over three years to remove police from courts. In response to the funding commitment, the Liberals said the initial costings would be $750,000 per year plus additional upfront costs.
Back in 2012, the state Liberals campaigned on the election promise of removing police from Launceston and Burnie courts.
Thankfully this time the community and stakeholders’ frustrations were heard. The state government have created a plan to take police out of the Launceston Supreme Court and put them back on the beat.
Unfortunately for Burnie, the police will still be on “babysitting duties” as the issue remains “complex”.
The additional bonus of the Launceston plan is the employment of six more people in our community. These people will be trained as correctional officers to replace the police.
According to former Northern Police Commander and Member of the Legislative Council Ivan Dean and Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen, the fight to remove the police dates back more than 20 years across both Liberal and Labor governments.
“Promises have been made in the past by various governments over this issue, I can guarantee that the members will not take another disappointment should it not occur this time,” Mr Allen said.
And he’s right. After a long battle to have police removed from our court, we will rejoice when more police are walking our streets and the plan is in force.