Jacquie Petrusma,Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management
The Tasmanian Liberal Government continues to invest in our police to keep our communities safe by recruiting 308 additional police officers and building new police stations.
Last month I was honoured to attend the opening of the new $5 million New Norfolk Police Station, and last week I was also delighted to attend the opening of the new $5 million Longford Police Station.
The Longford Police Station is also complemented by a new, state-of-the-art $1 million building specifically designed and built for our specialist police resources.
Through our increased investment in additional police officers, Tasmania Police can focus on targeting and prosecuting offenders, and this has been evident in recent anti-social behaviour blitzes and targeted road safety operations.
These operations are about protecting lives on our roads; encouraging safe driving practices; and issuing infringements for the fatal five – speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving with drugs or alcohol, being distracted or using a mobile phone, or driving while fatigued.
Tasmania Police undertook one of these operations on the West Coast earlier this month, resulting in 4 defect notices, 2 persons charged with exceeding the alcohol limit, 1 for illicit drugs, 38 charges for speeding, 1 charge of not wearing a seatbelt and 2 charges for using a mobile phone whilst driving.
In addition, in February, police undertook targeted operations in the Huon Valley over 5 days, which resulted in more than 300 roadworthiness and compliance inspections, as well as 7 vehicles being seized and impounded, and 30 drivers issued defect notices.
Disappointingly, Police also caught 6 drivers exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit, and fined 3 passengers for possessing open containers of alcohol while travelling in vehicles.
One driver was arrested after being caught hooning at Geeveston and had their vehicle seized, 3 drivers were driving unregistered vehicles and failing to wear seatbelts, 2 people were driving whilst disqualified, 5 drivers were issued fines for causing unnecessary noise and smoke, and 18 motorists were detected speeding – one of whom was arrested and the vehicle seized.
Launceston police targeted the Launceston CBD and surrounding suburbs over the March long weekend and caught 17 drink drivers, and a further 11 were detected with an illicit drug in their body. Two vehicles were detected hooning and both drivers arrested, along with 14 traffic infringement notices issued, 6 drug diversions, 29 motor vehicle defects and 14 formal directions to leave the CBD.
All of these outstanding results demonstrate that if people choose to offend, they will be caught, especially as we have increased the number of police officers in Tasmania, and we are continuing to recruit more.
There were 70 new Tasmania Police graduates last year and 95 this year, including the recent graduation of 22 new police officers this month as part of the Government’s plan to boost police numbers by an additional 308 officers.
Tasmania Police has advised that these high visibility traffic operation blitzes will remain a priority in response to incidents of hooning and dangerous driving on our rural roads and highways.
I congratulate Tasmania Police for working with their local communities and for the great success of these strategic and targeted operations.
Our investments in Tasmania Police are in stark contrast to the Labor Opposition who cruelly cut 108 officers when in government, and in fact left Tasmanians with fewer police officers in 2014 than when they first elected 16 years earlier in 1998.