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Police, Fire and Emergency Management – Perceptions of Safety

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 9 June 2022

Tags: Police, Community Safety

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, in the budget papers, on page 227, there are some interesting key performance indicators. It shows that public place assaults, public order incidences and offences against the person have all increased over the period. It also shows that perceptions of safety in public at night, safety in public in the day and at home alone at night have also increased. It is not usually the case that there is an opposite relationship between perceived safety and actual safety.

Can you please tell me what is the functional purpose of collecting data about collecting people's perceptions of safety?

Mrs PETRUSMA - That is a national survey by ANZPAA every month of every jurisdiction across Australia. The commissioner would be able to outline more.

Comm HINE - That contract is negotiated on behalf of all police jurisdictions through ANZPAA, as the minister said. We do not conduct the survey. An independent organisation conducts the survey.

Dr WOODRUFF - So, Tasmania Police puts no resourcing into doing that survey; it is a national survey. If this perception was higher or lower than previously, are there any actions that are taken by Tasmania Police on the basis of that information?

Mrs PETRUSMA - For many years, Tasmania Police has continued to have one of the highest satisfaction rates in Australia. I think that is due to, as we have already outlined, the culture in the police force, and how they present to the community starts from the top. The commissioner and his leadership team, going on down through the Tasmania police force, do aim to have a high satisfaction rate with the community, and to be always receptive and be open to change.

I will allow the commissioner to further outline how they do it internally, but I think all of us would agree that most people in Tasmania believe our police force do an outstanding job.

Comm HINE - It is a really important question. It is a really important measure for us as an organisation to make sure our services are being used by and taken notice by the community. If we do not actually react to what the community wants, then we are not doing our job. We can have the lowest crime figures in the world, but if the community isn't feeling safe, then we are not doing our job, and if we are not servicing and looking at these things, then we, again, as an organisation are not learning.

As the minister said, in those surveys of services provided by police for this year, the satisfaction rating is 79.1 per cent, when nationally it is 77.9 per cent - so we are above the national average, which we are really pleased about. In the most recent 'contact with police satisfaction', Tasmania was 80.8 per cent, and the national was 78.8 per cent - so again we are above the national average.

For 'police responding to emergencies and disasters' - you know, we have fires, floods and in the most recent years, the COVID situation - up until March this year, Tasmania received an 82.8 per cent satisfaction rating, where nationally it was 80 per cent.

For 'police perform their job professionally', Tasmania was 85.5 per cent, where nationally it was 83 per cent.

For 'police treat people fairly and equitably', Tasmania was 75.5 per cent, and nationally was 66.8 per cent.

So, these are indicators about if we're having an increase in certain things. The community is still satisfied with the services that we look at, but we are also concerned to make sure we keep the community safe and deal with any increases - whether in public place assaults or whatever - as well. I am not sure if that has answered your question.