29 June 2023
The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) says new data reveals an alarming decline in the number of Constables within the Northern Territory Police Force, when compared to staffing levels a decade ago.
On Thursday 15 June 2023, in Estimates, the Police Minister Kate Worden revealed "As at 30 March, we had 1,649.25 full-time equivalent”. The NTPA subsequently sought a breakdown of FTE from the Department of NT Police Fire, and Emergency Services.
When you compare the figures with the NTPFES 2013-14 staffing numbers, which shows there were 886.40 Constables, fresh data provided by NTPFES shows Constable numbers have dropped to 863.14 – which is 23 LESS.
NTPA President, Nathan Finn said these figures unequivocally debunk the NT Governments ongoing claims of “more police than ever before”.
“These figures lay bare a harsh reality: the NT Police Force is in a worse position today, lacking essential frontline resources, than it was a decade ago.
“Overall, we acknowledge the agency has grown – but a majority of that increase appears to be Police Auxiliaries, which are – generally – not frontline positions. In fact, the numbers of Auxiliaries has grown by 89 in the same comparative period.
“Constables are the backbone of the NT Police Force. They perform a fundamental role and are at the core of the agency's operations. Clearly, we need more of them.
“There are currently dozens of Constables vacancies across the Northern Territory, including a large number that have been advertised three times or more.
“Also in Estimates, came the astonishing revelation our members have worked 159,000 hours of overtime in the nine months to the end of March 2023, which equates to 580 hours per day. If you divide that by an 8-hour shift, 72 additional police officers are needed just to keep up with current demand.
In February 2023, Deputy Commissioner Smalpage gave evidence at the Kumanjayi Walker inquest that “there has been a 30 percent increase in all reported crime across the Northern Territory. In the last ten years, there is a 126 percent increase in family and domestic violence in the Northern Territory. We have seen a 52 percent increase in unlawful entries across the Northern Territory. The demand on our services and the commensurate size of our footprint is challenging and difficult … we need additional police officers to meet all of those demands.”
“A simple measure to immediately boost frontline officers, which the NTPA has been consistently lobbying for: transition the 75 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors positions to Constable positions, establish Liquor Licensing Inspectors (which is what the Riley Review recommended) to undertake the monotonous task of standing in front of takeaway liquor outlets – and get our police back on the frontline.
“These shocking staffing figures further highlight the urgent and undeniable need for an extensive and immediate resource review of the NT Police Force. Our dedicated officers deserve better, and the public deserves a well-equipped police force that can effectively serve and protect the people of the Northern Territory,” said Mr Finn.
Source: People Branch, NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services, FTE by Rank as at 30/03/2023
Please note: 2013-14 staffing figures are sourced from the 2014-15 annual report due to an updated FTE methodology.
Please direct all media enquiries to NTPA Communications Officer, Kyrrie Blenkinsop +61 (0) 499 017 654 or email@example.com
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