The Advertiser: Independent review into SA Police operations to be released ‘in early 2021’, State Government says

It has been two years since it was announced but a review designed to cut paperwork and free up police time is finally about to be released.

A long-awaited SA Police review aimed at cutting unnecessary paperwork and time in courtrooms to free up officers is due to be released within weeks, the State Government says.

The independent review by retired Supreme Court judge Kevin Duggan QC was launched in October 2018 with recommendations due a year later.

Former police minister Corey Wingard said the review – a Liberal state election pledge – was aimed at streamlining police operations and reducing administrative burdens on officers.

It was budgeted at $502,000 but the Government said only $296,300 was spent.

The State Government confirmed the review was not completed until March 2020 but the Opposition has labelled it “completely irresponsible” for sitting on the report since that time.

Opposition police spokesman Lee Odenwalder fears the public might suffer from the delayed report.

Opposition police spokesman Lee Odenwalder said the coronavirus pandemic has stretched police resources “like never before”.

“It is completely irresponsible for the Marshall Liberal Government to sit on this report for almost a year,” Mr Odenwalder said.

“This is a report which may contain recommendations that would allow the police to do their jobs more effectively at a time when their resources are stretched.

“This is another broken promise … and the community may well suffer.”

But Police Minister Vincent Tarzia said the State Government’s full response was “expected in early 2021”.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is dedicated to safeguarding South Australians, ensuring more police officers are available on the frontline to protect our community,” Mr Tarzia said.

“Since (March 2020), despite the COVID-19 pandemic, significant work has been undertaken by the Marshall Liberal Government and SA Police to respond to the review.”

The report follows an internal review by SA Police of its operations across the force and state, first announced in July 2015.

Its recommendations were that police stations be closed or their opening hours shortened as part of a major overhaul of the force.

The changes prompted community backlash and the now-Liberal Government pledged ahead of taking power at the March election to reinstate police station opening hours.

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