Police warn on airport duties

TASMANIA Police lacks the resources to take over Hobart Airport security from its federal colleagues, the state's police union has warned.

Tuesday's federal budget slashed $22 million across four years from the Australian Federal Police presence at the airport, with almost 30 AFP officers to be withdrawn from the site in the coming months.

However, the AFP will maintain its Hobart office.

Tasmania Police will take over responsibility for security and policing duties at the airport.

Police union president Pat Allen said police did not have the resources to take on the extra responsibility, unless extra money was found.

"We are still not back to the previous government's level of 1120 police officers," he said.

"And any people who are coming in now are going to be needed to get back to the new government's level of 1228.

"We won't have the people to answer the calls the way the AFP does."

Constable Allen warned that this would jeopardise security at the airport, as well as other areas of general police responsibility when resources were diverted to the airport.

He said this would leave Tasmania having Australia's only capital city airport without AFP officers.

Constable Allen was seconded to the AFP's office at the airport for 18 months and said it took six weeks of training for him to be able to do so.

He said the airport was a "legislative minefield" for police, who would require specialist training.

Commissioner Darren Hine said there would be no permanent Tasmania Police presence at the airport, but it would be included in routine police patrols.

Mr Hine said that Hobart Airport would be incorporated into the police response model, which was already in place for the police response to incidents at other Tasmanian airports.

"This will require additional upskilling in the emergency management responsibilities under Commonwealth legislation," he said.

An AFP spokesman said the decision reflected the fact that Hobart Airport did not receive any international commercial flights and its total passenger figures were substantially less than other major airports.

"Data also indicates that the number of incidents requiring a policing response at Hobart Airport is significantly lower than at the nine other major airports," he said.

"All AFP members affected by this decision will be consulted and redeployed to alternate locations."


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