19 May 2022

Police Minister Nicole Manison should reveal what a working group formed to review sentencing options for assaults on frontline workers has done since its inception nine months ago following the Fyles Government failure to back mandatory minimum sentences for police assaults in parliament.

The NT Police Association President Paul McCue said it was disappointing he had not been given any updates about the working group’s progress since it was formed in September after lobbying from the NTPA.

Since its formation, the NTPA is only aware of one meeting being held, despite the Commissioner of Police advising the NTPA this was now a priority for government.

However, Mr McCue said while it was pleasing to hear Ms Manison tell parliament work was underway on a bill to make spitting at a police officer an aggravated assault and an offence to try and take an officer’s firearm or Taser, he questioned why the legislation wasn’t ready to be put before parliament.

He also questioned how many of the prison sentences given to first time offenders were immediately suspended without the offender spending time in jail.

“Police Minister Nicole Manison should come forward and be transparent about what this working group has actually been working on,” Mr McCue said.

“Since September last year countless numbers of our members have been assaulted and many of those offenders have not faced any actual jail time. This is unacceptable for our police who are continually feeling the strain of the demands of the job, working enormous amounts of overtime to fill rosters, yet alone being at risk of assault almost every single day.

"It is disappointing that the Fyles Government failed to take up an opportunity to support their frontline police, and all workers for that matter.

"This will be a priority for our Association in early discussions with the new Chief Minister,” Mr McCue said.