Tasmania has lowest crime rates

TASMANIA has the lowest rates of serious crime in the country and among the highest rates of crime solved, an independent auditor's report has found.

The report by Auditor-General Mike Blake into Tasmania Police's resolution of serious crime found that both crime rates and clearance rates had remained relatively steady for the past five years, despite changes in police resources.

Mr Blake said the clearance rate for serious crime, which describes crimes that either proceed to court or are dropped because of a request by the complainant or the death of the accused, fluctuated from a high of 76 per cent in 2011-12 to a low of 71 per cent in 2012-13 but did not appear to be trending up or down.

Opposition police spokeswoman Elise Archer said the lower than average clearance rate last year showed Tasmania needed the 100 extra police officers promised by the Liberals.

But Mr Blake said the link between crimes solved and police staffing levels was not borne out in the data.

"In our discussions with Tasmania Police staff, they stated that the small changes in the clearance rate over the years could not be easily attributed to changes in the actions of Tasmania Police, the number of operational police, or other factors," he said.

Mr Blake said there was no clear causal link between the level of government spending and the number of serious crimes, despite a correlation between the amount of spending on crime prevention and crime levels decreasing.

The report found that the level of serious crime in Tasmania was significantly below other states, quoting Productivity Commission figures that found Tasmania had 51 serious crime offences per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of more than 140 incidents per 100,000.

The next-lowest crime rate was the ACT, with 119 serious crimes recorded per 100,000 people.

Police Minister David O'Byrne said the report showed that Tasmania was one of the safest states in the country and that police had "adequate resources for serious crime".

"What the police association and the Liberal Party want to do is run a political campaign and a fear campaign, because that's easy politics," Mr O'Byrne said.

"The hard thing is to get in, identify the resources and apply them appropriately."


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