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Policing Cost Recovery Targets Wrong Areas

Legislation allowing Police to recover costs for the services they provide targets the wrong areas, says Labour Acting Police Spokesperson Phil Goff.

Mr Goff was speaking on the First Reading of the Policing Cost Recovery Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

"It would be fair enough for Police to target large commercial organisations for policing a concert or a sports event from which they are making tens of thousands of dollars. I would support that", Mr Goff said.

"But the Bill specifically targets vetting services including those provided to non-profit organisations like the Teachers Council and Child Youth and Family Services. Those are public good functions and should not be subject to user pays.

"It is a mandatory obligation on the Teachers Council to receive police vetting of all of those who work in pre-school and school environments.

"Police vetting is a critical part of the functions set out in the Policing Act 2008 of maintaining public safety, crime prevention and ensuring community support and reassurance. It keeps our kids safe, helps prevent crime and assures the public that those working with our most vulnerable citizens, our children, are fit and proper persons. Demanding payments in this area or for vetting volunteers who work for charitable organisations is the thin end of the wedge for a user pays approach to policing.

Despite the rhetoric around efficiency, equity and transparency, this Bill is really about allowing a resource starved police force to raise money from performing its core functions.

"Police funding has been cut in real terms by $114 million since 2009 and is now really squeezing the ability of the Police to do their job.

Inflation proofing police funding would be a better way to address the problem rather than introducing by stealth user pays in public good areas", Phil Goff said.