168 extra officers for COVID operations frees up resources for frontline

Thursday 10 June, 2021

A significant boost to policing resources across the state will further enhance the safety and security of South Australians, with the Marshall Liberal Government to deliver an additional 114 Protective Security Officers (PSO) to reinforce SAPOL’s successful COVID-19 response.

The Marshall Government has already strengthened SAPOL by accelerating the recruitment of 72 cadets and recruiting 54 temporary PSOs in 2020-21, now increasing the total number of additional officers to 240. More than half are already performing policing and security roles and COVID-19 related tasks.

Premier Steven Marshall said the State Budget 2021-22 invests $23.6 million to extend the employment of 54 PSO’s employed in 2020-21 and recruit and train an additional 114 PSOs – $15.2m in 2021-22 and a further $8.4m in 2022-23.

This is in addition to the $64 million in extra spending this financial year (2020-21) for extra COVID-related costs.

“Adding 114 extra PSOs to the ranks is a huge addition to SAPOL’s COVID-19 operations,” Premier Marshall said.

“This is a resourcing boost for SAPOL increasing frontline capacity in the fight against COVID-19.  
“Community safety has never been compromised and this move ensures South Australians remain protected from crime and COVID-19.”

Police Minister Vincent Tarzia said PSOs will follow the successful COVID-19 safety blueprint set out by SAPOL since the pandemic hit South Australia.

“PSOs will be deployed to medi-hotels and undertake a range of other COVID-19 duties while police officers oversee all activities,” Minister Tarzia said.

“Our dedicated officers have gone above and beyond in their response to COVID-19 and the Marshall Government will continue forging South Australia’s strong and safe passage from this pandemic.

“Our Budget for a stronger South Australia is creating jobs, building what matters and delivering better services to further secure our state's growing global reputation as one of the safest and most attractive places in the world to live, work and raise a family.”

Police Commissioner and State Coordinator Grant Stevens said the response of the Government is a positive and encouraging pathway that will lead to better outcomes for South Australians.

Commissioner Stevens said the availability of 168 additional PSOs will dramatically strengthen SAPOL’s ongoing COVID-19 response, keeping the community safe.

“I am very pleased that with Government support we can now recruit a further 114 PSOs, and maintain 54 existing PSOs, to bring that to a total of 168 overall,” Commissioner Stevens said.

“SAPOL’s ability to deliver services to the community will be substantially strengthened by these new PSO positions”

“It has been a challenge for SAPOL maintaining a significant resource commitment to COVID-19, but this initiative will ensure more police are available to respond to reports of crime and calls for police assistance.”

SAPOL directs significant resources to COVID-19 duties every day.

SAPOL’s on-going duties include:

  • Medi-hotel duties and related escorts
  • Airport arrival processing and related escorts
  • Central Assessment Unit
  • Border duties (as required)
  • Police Operations Centre
  • SA Health Liaison
  • Compliance incident response (in support of SA health)
  • COVID Support Unit (compliance data entry).

SAPOL has a dedicated recruitment and training program to ensure the extra resources are available for deployment as soon as possible. The last group of PSOs – from the pool of 54 – graduated on May 28, 2021.

SAPOL encourages anyone who is interested in the PSO role to apply on the link below.