20 June 2023
The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) says it is highly embarrassing for Government, and deeply insulting to our members, for the Chief Minister to lay sole responsibility on police to determine bail for violent offenders.
NTPA President Nathan Finn said either the Chief Minister doesn’t understand the functions of the NT Parliament, or she’s deliberately attempting to redirect blame for law-and-order policy failures onto police.
This morning on Mix 104.9, Chief Minister Natasha Fyles was asked to give an assurance that if an offender commits aggravated assault with any kind of weapon that they won’t get bail.
The Chief Minister responded:
So Katie, what I can say to your listeners is police decide who gets bail. So, police are best placed because they’re highly trained, they understand the circumstances and they can restrict bail to anyone that they believe will be a threat to our community.
In response to the Chief Minister’s comments, Mr Finn said “Our members can only operate within the constraints of the current legislative framework, which is determined by the NT Parliament.
“As the Chief Minister should well know, the NT Parliament sets the laws, and police enforce them. It is totally inappropriate for the Chief Minister to claim responsibility for bail is solely up to police.
“In Estimates last week, Police Minister Kate Worden revealed a Bail Review conducted last November has been provided to Cabinet – but won’t be made public. How can our members and the community have confidence Government is making informed decisions around bail, if the review won’t be made public? If the review has identified something needs to change to protect the public and ensure police have the tools to keep violent offenders off the streets, it needs to be implemented - as a priority.
“It’s clear the Government’s bail laws, particularly around edged weapons aren’t working. The changes do not go far enough and the presumption against bail should be extended to include Offensive weapons, or any object used as a weapon to cause fear or harm to another.
“Our members have told us there has been a significant increase in the concealing and carrying of edged weapons along with their use in offending. Items such as axes, machetes, and spears – all of which are not defined as Prohibited or Controlled weapons under the Weapons Control Act 2001– are readily available and commonly used.
“With comments like this from the Chief Minister, it’s little wonder 96.7 percent of surveyed officers in the NTPA’s February member poll said they do not feel supported by the NT Government,” said Mr Finn.
Please direct all media enquiries to NTPA Communications Officer, Kyrrie Blenkinsop +61 (0) 499 017 654 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) is the industrial voice of all members of the Northern Territory Police Force. Read more via www.ntpa.com.au or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NTPoliceAssociation