A ground-breaking technology transformation to streamline SAPOL’s frontline operations – saving up to 30 minutes per officer each shift – and expansion of a nursing program in custodial facilities to relieve emergency departments, are among actions taken by the Marshall Liberal Government in response to the 2020 Independent Review into Frontline Policing (the Duggan Review).
In the lead up to the 2018 election, the Marshall Liberal Government made a commitment to commission a review into all aspects of police work to maximise the safety and security of South Australians by ensuring extra SAPOL officers are available to protect the community.
The review was completed by retired Supreme Court Justice the Hon Kevin Duggan AM QC in March 2020 and outlined a total of 15 recommendations for SAPOL which have all been considered and actioned.
Police Minister Vincent Tarzia said the Duggan Review focused on identifying time and productivity efficiencies to streamline operations and reduce administrative burdens on frontline policing.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, significant work has been undertaken by South Australia Police and the Marshall Liberal Government to respond to the review,” Minister Tarzia said.
“One of the cornerstone responses to the Duggan Review is the Marshal Liberal Government’s $34.9 million investment in the Mobile Workforce Transformation Program (MWTP) funded in the 2020/21 State Budget.
“The MWTP will revolutionise SAPOL’s capability on the frontline by streamlining operations, saving up to 30 minutes per officer each shift, meaning there is even more officers actively on the beat.
“That’s the equivalent of deploying an additional 30 frontline SAPOL officers per shift.
“These game-changing enhancements will supercharge SAPOL to become one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world.”
The MWTP incorporates upgrades to key operational systems, the acquisition of new technology and delivery of remote connectivity to increase the capability of all officers over the next three years.
Personal issue mobile phones will be rolled out to SAPOL personnel and portable network hubs will be installed at all stations and in operational vehicles.
“Officers will have capability to access crucial computer systems anytime and anywhere, whether that’s on the beat, in the car, or in the office,” Minister Tarzia said.
Mr Duggan’s Review also recommended a nursing trial at the City Watch House, which led to significant outcomes for SAPOL and the South Australian community, be extended to all major metropolitan custody facilities.
The in-reach program reduces the flow of prisoners to hospital emergency departments and has been extended with a $2.7 million investment, outlined in the 2021-22 State Budget.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said a pilot of the program had proven successful and its extension would continue to ease pressure on the health system.
The Elizabeth, Port Adelaide and Christies Beach cells are now staffed with nurses seven days a week.
“We know that hospitals nationally are experiencing increased pressures in their emergency departments and we are determined to continue to deliver alternative care pathways for South Australians to keep them out of emergency departments where possible,” Minister Wade said.
“This program, which was first piloted in April 2020, places nurses at four metropolitan ‘watch-houses’ at District Police Cells to provide in-house treatment and treatment for low-urgent conditions to both detainees and police officers.
“The 24-hour nursing service provides a range of services to keep prisoners out of EDs including medication management, wound management, medical and physical assessments, COVID-19 swab testing and mental health assessments.
“This $2.7 million investment will ensure this pilot will continue to help ease pressure on our emergency departments, adding to the suite of measures the Marshall Liberal Government is delivering to reduce pressure on our hospital system.”
The medical treatment of prisoners onsite has resulted in:
- Reduced risk and improved health and wellbeing for prisoners.
- Reduced time prisoners spend in emergency departments.
- Reduced number of prisoners presenting to emergency departments.
- Increased emergency department availability for South Australian community.
Other recommendations included:
Remedial training for updated Shield System:
Further operational training has been prioritised post COVID-19. Shield is a centralised information management platform for recording and management of victim and non-victim crimes.
An increase in the distribution of Mobile Rugged Tablets for CIB officers:
An additional 247 Mobile Rugged (MRTs) were approved and deployed with 55 devices currently being used for frontline operations in support of SAPOL’s COVID-19 response.
A trial of non-sworn cell guards in the City Watch House:
SAPOL has advanced legislation to create a new Police Security Officer (PSO) position with further work to be undertaken to implement a new custody management model.
A simplified explanation of the terms of the 2010 Mental Health and Emergency Services Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be distributed to relevant operators:
Being undertaken as part of the current review of the MOU.
Legislation be introduced to render the death or apparent death of a person from natural causes, who was subject to an order for detention under the Mental Health Act 2009 at the time of death, not be taken to be a death in custody for the purposes of the Coroners Act 2003.
The Coroners (Inquest and Privilege) Amendment Bill passed Parliament in March 2021. The Bill amends the Coroners Act to allow deaths of persons from natural causes who are subject to an inpatient treatment order under the Mental Health Act to be no longer required to be subject to a mandatory inquest.
That in all cases set down for trial, investigators and prosecutors consider whether an application should be made for any witness to give evidence by Audio Visual Link (AVL) and to make that application at a pre-trial conference or directions hearing.
Thirty additional AVL units have been installed in frontline police facilities to increase capacity for witnesses to appear remotely. Portable devices will be available to taken to witnesses who are unable to reach a fixed AVL location.