Productivity Commission shines a light on police services

 

On Wednesday 29 January 2020 the Productivity Commission released the latest "lens" on Police Services across Australia. 

 

 

The overall report this sits within is titled the Report on Government Services (RoGS) - within which the Justice / Police Services section is an excellent source of information for anyone wanting an overview of policing in Australia. 

The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision undertakes this reporting for the Council of Australian Governments. It is an inter-governmental committee that the Productivity Commission provides secretariat and research support to. The Commission was created as an an independent authority in 1998 and operates under its own Act ; read more about its core functions here  

The Police Services section (Part C, Section 6) of the report is based on respective annual reports from around Australia, and reflects the policing work of every State and Territory, including the community policing function performed by the AFP in ACT. It doesn't include the AFP's national policing function or other non-police law enforcement bodies such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. 
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Please note the Report is only available online

 

OPERATIONAL POLICE STAFF FIGURES

On staffing the Police Services section puts some definition around "operational police staff" as any member of staff (sworn or unsworn) whose primary duty is the delivery of police or police related services to an external client (where an external client predominantly refers to members of the public but may also include law enforcement outputs delivered to other government departments). 

Nationally in 2018–19, 92.0 per cent of the 75,974 police staff were operational; an increase from 90.5 per cent in 2012-13. This equates to 278 police staff per 100,000 people, but varies across jurisdictions, in part, due to differing operating environments. These are the numbers for 2018-19: 

  • NSW - 237 operational staff per 100,000 people 

  • Victoria - 301 

  • Queensland - 284

  • Western Australian - 281

  • South Australia - 313

  • Tasmania - 265

  • ACT - 205

  • Northern Territory - 713

THE INDICATOR FRAMEWORK & RESULTS FOR POLICE SERVICES

The Police Services section features an Indicator Framework and Indicator Results around performance on equity, effectiveness and efficiency of the services being delivered. The indicators include: 

  • Expenditure per person

  • Crime victimisation (relating to the safety and security of communities)

  • Perceptions of safety

  • Perceptions of crime problems 

  • Outcome of investigations 

  • Magistrates court defendants resulting in a guilty plea or finding (bringing to justice those people responsible for committing an offence)

  • Road safety

  • Road deaths 

  • Satisfaction with police services

  • Perceptions of police integrity

  • Complaints 

  • Staffing by gender

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staffing

A breakdown of results for each indicator, focused on highlighting the NSW figures for the most recent year of data follows. Further comparisons are possible between jurisdictions under the 'Indicator Results' tab at Report on Government Services 2020, Police services. 

NSW - Expenditure per person 

  • In 2018-19, real recurrent expenditure per person on policing in NSW was $441.80. Figures in other jurisdictions were: Victoria - $516.50; Queensland - $468; Western Australia - $572.30; South Australia - $473.50; Tasmania - $472.50; ACT - $438.40; Northern Territory - $1567.40. The national figure was $493.70

    Additional info: In 2018-19 the the total Australia-wide expenditure on Justice Services across all jurisdictions was $18.4 billion - with Police Services accounting for 65%, followed by Corrective Services at 25.9% and Courts at 9.1%. As an aside the expenditure on these three sets of justice services, nationally, works out at $732 per person. 

NSW - Crime victimisation

  • In 2017-18 there were an estimated 2,207.2 victims of Physical assault per 100,000 people in NSW.

    National figure = 2421.

  • In 2017-18 there were an estimated 1,657.6 victims of Attempted break-in per 100,000 people in NSW.

    National figure = 2206.

NSW - Perceptions of safety (night time)

  • In 2018-19 91.9% of people felt 'safe' or 'very safe' at home alone during the night in NSW.

    National figure = 88.5%

  • In 2018-19 59.6% of people felt 'safe' or 'very safe' walking alone in their neighbourhood during the night in NSW.

    National figure = 53.5%

  • In 2018-19 37.8% people felt 'safe' or 'very safe' on public transport during the night in NSW

    National figure = 33.5%

NSW - Perceptions of crime problems 

  • In 2018-19 44.8% of people identified 'illegal drugs' as a 'major problem' or 'somewhat a problem' in their neighbourhood. National figure = 46.9%

NSW - Outcome of investigations 

  • In 2018 for 'Sexual assault' offences 32.1% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

  • In 2018 for 'Armed robbery' offences 91.8% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

  • In 2018 for 'Unarmed robbery' offences 86.9% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

  • In 2018 for 'Unlawful entry with intent' offences 86.8% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

  • In 2018 for 'Motor vehicle theft' offences 85.9% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

  • In 2018 for 'Other theft' offences 78.6% of investigations were finalised and proceedings were instituted against the offender within 30 days of the offence becoming known to police.

NSW - Magistrates court

  • In 2017-18 95.7% of magistrates court adjudicated defendants submitted a guilty plea or were found guilty.

    National figure = 97.9%

NSW - Road safety 

  • In 2018-19 4.4% of people who had driven in the previous 6 months had driven without wearing a seat belt.

    National figure = 4.6%

  • In 2018-19 7.7% of people who had driven in the previous 6 months had driven when possibly over the alcohol limit.

    National figure = 8%

  • In 2018-19 60.4% of people who had driven in the previous 6 months had driven 10 km per hour or more above the speed limit.

    National figure = 59.8%

NSW - Road deaths

  • In 2018-19 there were 6.4 road deaths per 100,000 registered vehicles. 

    National figure = 6.2 deaths 

NSW - Satisfaction with police services

  • In 2018-19 83.5% of the adult population were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the services provided by police in response to emergencies and disasters.

    National figure = 79.9% 

NSW - Perceptions of police integrity

  • In 2018-19 for opinions on the statement 'police treat people fairly and equally', 69.4% of people 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed'.

    National figure = 72.1%

  • In 2018-19 for opinions on the statement 'police perform job professionally', 84.8% of people 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed'.

    National figure = 85.7.1%

  • In 2018-19 for opinions on the statement 'police are honest', 74.9% of people 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed'.

    National figure = 74.3%

NSW - Complaints 

  • In 2018-19 there were 81.4 complaints per 100,000 people.

NSW - Staffing by gender

  • In 2018-19 33.4% of police staff were female.

    National figure = 34.1%

NSW - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staffing 

  • In 2018-19 the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander police staff in NSW was 2.9%. Nationally, the only jurisdiction where the representation of police staff was above the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the population for that state or territory was ACT.  

SIX CLIENT GROUPS

The Report on Government Services' Police Services section considers six specific 'client groups' in the community who have more direct dealings with the police, namely:

  • victims of crime

  • those suspected of, or charged with, committing offences *

  • those reporting criminal incidents

  • those involved in traffic related incidents

  • third parties (such as witnesses to crime and people reporting traffic accidents)

  • those requiring police services for non-crime-related matters

The use of the term ‘offender’ refers to a person who is alleged to have committed an offence. 

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