Working together to protect our future
 
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During the opening of the 2018 NTPA Annual Conference, I made mention of the increasing demands being placed upon the shoulders of NT Police Officers.

These demands are both internal, and external, and are driven by multiple factors, such as government expectations and policy, budget constraints and regular internal change.

So, as we go to print, I reviewed the governments 5-point plan for tackling anti-social behaviour. One such point to a reduction of anti-social behaviour is Visible Policing. I agree with government, there needs to be a holistic and strategic response that addresses the many reasons and causes of antisocial behaviour.

So, what has Visible Policing been described as by government?

Visible policing and safer public places

NT Police are tackling anti-social behaviour through a visible presence and targeted ongoing campaigns to address problem drinking.

This includes foot patrols, segways, a mobile caravan, marked vans and dog patrols.

Police are developing a strategy that works closely with industry, service providers, community associations and NGOs to support harm minimisation. This may include:

  • more CCTV, working closely with the Switching On Darwin project currently underway in Darwin CBD
  • better information sharing between service
    providers, night patrol and the community
It is important to note this is nothing new, frankly police have been proactively engaging the community for years in an effort to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and at times it has felt like they are the only ones doing the heavy lifting.

To outline this as something contained within a new plan is ill thought out, and does not reflect on the good work police, and police alone, have been doing for years in the absence of legislative and enforcement tools surrounding the number one cause of anti-social behaviour, alcohol.
So, from that end, the government is making significant change in curbing alcohol related harm, in particular, with amendments to the Liquor Act, while a full rewrite is underway. But it cannot stop there, and after reading criticism of our officers from the Ombudsman regarding the use of spray on Mitchell Street, lets remember it was again in the early hours of the morning, when the pubs and clubs turf out the patrons who are fuelled on grog and less likely to comply with basic directions, something which has previously resulted in assaults on our officers. Everything must be taken in context, and efforts toward on-premise sales and consumption must be increased.
The community wants police in schools, police at bottle shops, police in remote areas, and police to be able to respond in a timely manner to calls for assistance. I am not sure how more visible our police need to be to demonstrate their commitment to making real change. The question must be put to those we dont see in the police uniform, to those who sleep comfortably at night while our officers walk the dangerous beat of Mitchell Street, get called out in remote communities during the middle of the night for help, and continue to proactively engage the community to build trust and relationships.
Police are there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, what are you doing?

REMOTE POLICING

It was with interest I read in the recently released NTPFES 2017-18 Annual Report that police numbers had risen from the previous 12 months. While the numbers reflect near 100 extra, 16 of these were Auxiliaries engaged to do bottle shop work, on the frontline, on their own.
The government are delivering more police, and this is a positive sign. But concerning signs continue to come through our office of understrength remote station staffing, and members being left on their own. With numbers increasing, there is no excuse for the Commissioner to not commit to a sustainable and agreed deployment model for remote stations, where no member is ever left alone. #NeverWorkAlone.
The Regional and Remote Working Group, established under the current Consent Agreement, has gathered significant evidence demonstrating most of the complaints from remote areas could be resolved with sufficient staffing, supported by appropriate infrastructure.
Discussions with the Police Minister on this issue are ongoing, and having visited several remote stations, the Minister has indicated a willingness to working with the NTPA and the Commissioner on a sustainable plan for remote policing.
It must be noted that our members have been hearing for years that remote policing is going to be fixed, yet year after year nothing changes. We can no longer fail those remote members with only talk, it must be actioned, or we risk losing further interest from members wanting to work remotely. Something that should be a rewarding experience.
MORE SERVICES FOR MEMBERS

Expanding on our current Field Officer role, we are pleased to announce the addition of a second Field Officer to our staff, completing the recommendations delivered from an internal review in 2017. While we live in an ever-increasing electronic world, the ability for members to seek face-to-face assistance should never be underestimated, and we are pleased to be appointing former member, Peter Stowers, to the role.
Importantly, this is our first expansion of a full-time employee to be based in Alice Springs, and Pete will play an important role in day to day contact with members not just in Alice, but in our southern and central areas. Our current Field Officer, Solly, has provided some further information in his report on this topic.

FESTIVE SEASON

With the Christmas and New Year upon us, I would like to thank our major partners, Fleet Network, Police Health and Police Credit Union, who once again have supported our members in all parts of the Territory this year.
Importantly, I would like to thank our hard-working staff here in Darwin, who continue to service nearly 1,500 members across all corners of the Territory, as well as our Delegates and Executive members who volunteer their time to support you and your families.

Thank you, our membership, for your ongoing hard work and dedication to keeping the community safe, and the sacrifices that you have to make as you work 24 hours a day.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and lets pause on Christmas Day to thank all those members who will be sacrificing time with their family on Christmas Day whether it be Day, Evening or Night shift. Thank you.