Police would be armed with mobile fingerprint scanners and drug detectors in a Baird government cash splash on law and order, fulfilling its pledge to get tough on crime. As promised before the election, the “Policing for Tomorrow” fund allocates $100 million over four years to give police the latest technology. Police would bid for equipment such as tablet computers so frontline officers can access police data in the field, or hand-held machines that scan for narcotics. The fingerprint scanner would enable instant identification of offenders. Police minister and Deputy Premier Troy Grant, a former country cop, said the fund would “future-proof” the force and ensure police have access to the latest crime-fighting technology, “freeing them up to spend more time on the beat, protecting the community”.
A separate $3.65 million will continue the rollout of body-worn cameras for frontline officers.
Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said although the government has cut public sector wages growth, it was boosting frontline staff including police. The government will appoint 310 new police officers by 2018, including 250 specialist police and 15 specialist civilian staff. By the end of 2018, police numbers are expected to reach 16,795, up from 15,806 in 2011 when the government came to power. Of $69.6 billion total government spending on services next financial year, about 10 per cent will be devoted to public order and safety. Acknowledging the key role police play in combating family violence, the government will appoint 24 domestic violence specialist police. Spending on police expenses totals $3.3 billion. Over four years, $17.1 million will be used to support injured police. As part of a separate $178 capital works budget – the largest on record – police stations will be built or refurbished in Deniliquin, Gunnedah, Bay and Basin, Liverpool, Moss Vale, Tweed Heads, Lake Macquarie, Riverstone and Walgett.
The government has already announced an extra 1000 beds will be added to the state’s prison system, including a new private jail at Grafton and expansion of the Parklea Correctional Centre. NSW prisons are presently bursting at the seams due to tougher bail laws and law enforcement. The government has also allocated $4 million over two years to counter violent extremism through early itervention programs. NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton promised to make access to justice faster and easier by investing in courts and expanding technology use in the justice system, saying “justice delayed is justice denied”. More than $227 million will be granted to the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, after the federal government cut legal assistance to the vulnerable.
Almost $32 million will be spent over four years building a new Coroner’s Court, in a joint project with NSW Health. Court buildings will be upgraded in Newcastle and Wagga Wagga, costing $31.6 million. Fire fighters and emergency services will receive $1.14 billion next financial year. Fire and Rescue NSW is allocated almost $700 million, plus funding to refurbish fire stations and the replacement of vehicles. The Rural Fire Service’s power to fight remote bushfires will be boosted by $9.8 million for large air tankers, plus funds for fire trails and volunteer training centres.
Read : smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-budgets-lawandorder-splurge-funds-hightech-policing-20150623-ghu978.html