Unrelenting COVID-related duties are overwhelming South Australia’s police force rendering it “useless” in the face of serious crime, the state’s police association says.
The lack of frontline resources has reached a critical point, and both officers and the community are paying the price, Police Association President Mark Carroll says.
“It is a simple equation – core police functions are being severely weakened and it is threatening the delivery of front-line policing to the public,” he said.
“We simply do not have the resources to fulfil the unremitting list of COVID duties.”
The system breakdown is impacting officer’s health and safety, and also leaving communities vulnerable to serious crime, Mr Carroll believes.
“District policing teams, who respond to serious crimes, have been rendered useless because of these depleted numbers,” he said.
“It is an embarrassment for SA police officers that we are instructed to go around handing out fines to businesses instead of devoting our time to real, victim-related crime.”
The use of police for COVID-rule compliance and in medi-hotels has already gone on too long, Mr Carroll said, with no end to the pandemic in sight.
The Association is calling on Police Commissioner Grant Stevens to immediately divert officers from compliance checking duties and recruit up to 200 security guards to take over duties in medi-hotels.
SA Police has been contacted for comment.