Tough laws lost in police Budget
Tough laws lost in police Budget

The headline law and order budget - comprising police, attorney general, prisons and emergency services - is $2.7 billion for 2014-15, up 41 per cent since 2008-09, but fails to get a handle on the impact of tough new burglary laws.

WA Police’s operating Budget for 2014-15 is $1.3 billion, an increase of 6.6 per cent or 83.5 million.

The main features are $25.4 million over four years to overhaul triple-0 call responses by replacing WA Police’s computer aided dispatch system, $5 million for refurbishing ageing police stations and $1.3 million for CCTV.

STATE BUDGET - FULL COVERAGE

Treasurer Mike Nahan told Parliament the Government was also on track to meet 2008 and 2013 election commitments around police recruitment under a $103 million allocation for meeting growth.

“I am pleased to announce that by June 2014 the Government will have recruited the final 100 officers as part of the 2013 election commitment and expects to have recruited over 80 officers as part of the 2013 election commitment for an additional 550 officers,” he said.

“This will be built on in 2014-15, with WA Police planning to recruit another 180 officers during the year.”

But the Government remains blind to the Budget implications of its tough new burglary laws, making no provision for extra prison space or court costs despite identifying them as major spending risks.

The Budget notes there is a risk the legislation will increase WA’s adult and juvenile prison populations due to lengthened sentences and place extra demand on WA Police and prosecutors processing more offenders.

“But the potential financial impact is uncertain at this time and therefore has not been reflected in 2014-15,” it finds.

The West Australian

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