Police Association welcomes drone funding, frontline boost in 2018-19 Tasmanian budget

Upgrades to police housing and new drone technology are two major budget wins for Tasmania Police.

Acting president of the state’s police association Gavin Cashion said the investments were a “long time coming”.

“We are behind the eight ball when it comes to this sort of technology,” he said.

With $400,000 allocated over four years, the drone funding aimed to assist police in targeting hoon drivers and trail bike riders.

Police Association of Tasmania acting president Gavin Cashion.

Police Association of Tasmania acting president Gavin Cashion.

But Mr Cashion said the possibilities with the technology were endless.

“There is search and rescue including planned and unplanned searches, drug searches, seige situations, a whole manner of things drones could be used for,” he said.

“It just makes life easier and safer for police. Instead of wasting time wandering around the bush or conducting an intensive search over an area for an item of interest, we can just put the drone up and cover the area in a quarter of the time.”

Another bonus in the budget for police was securing funds for four years to keep northern police officers out of the Launceston Supreme Court.

After a campaign by The Examiner, the state government announced last year it would remove the officers from the court and replace them with newly trained correctional officers.

Those correctional staff are expected to commence duties next month and Thursday’s budget confirmed $789,000 had been allocated over the next four years to fund their court security and prisoner transport duties.

“I think our members will be dancing in the streets up there,” Mr Cashion said.

The six officers heading back to the frontline will be in addition to the 125 new officers promised statewide as part of the budget.

Those 125 officers will include six specialist ice investigators, with two to be assigned to each of the three drug squads in the state.

There will be a loss to frontline numbers, however, when the Special Operations Group becomes full-time.

Currently, Tasmania is one of the only states in the country without a full-time SOG.

“We look forward to future budgets continuing in this vein, providing a boost to the health and welfare of our members who have lived and worked for too long in substandard houses and premises,” Mr Cashion said.