Crime up amid cuts

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 06 Juli 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA Police is predicting a jump in public place assaults and a drop in the number of crimes solved this financial year.

The service's Operational Performance Targets report for 2013-14 reveals police management has lowered benchmarks in several serious crime categories.

Police sources say this is a new low for the service, which is battling cutbacks to staff and resources.

The new targets allow for an extra 180 people to become victims of public place assaults this year. The target for crime-solving has dropped from the 75 per cent achieved in 2012-13 to 71 per cent.

And despite a recent crackdown on serious drug dealing, this year's benchmark allows police to catch 40 fewer offenders than last year.

"This is unheard of," a senior officer told the Mercury.

"It basically says we're giving up on crime and doing the minimum to comply with the department's budget requirements.

"There's a fundamental breakdown in the management of this organisation that many are finding hard to live with."

Police management stands by the new performance targets, with Acting Deputy Commissioner Donna Adams quick to dispel the suggestion that Tasmanians should expect more crime in the year ahead.

"The operational performance targets have been set to reflect our allocation of 1120 police officers," she said.

"Tasmania Police recorded a strong performance in several areas, including public place assaults and clearing crime last financial year.

"Some of the targets are lower than the 2012-13 performance because they are set against a three-year average -- not just the previous year's performance."

Deputy Commissioner Adams said this allowed for "trends and fluctuations".

Sources railing against the lowered benchmarks say police morale has dropped in line with the department's budget, which lost $16 million in savings measures over the past few years.

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