The email sent to police officers by a senior officer at Holden Hill. SA Police deny officers were ordered to meet quotas and say the email was a ‘mistake’.
adelaidenow.com.au | Nov 19, 2011
by Doug Robertson and Ben Hyde
POLICE were ordered to meet quotas for the number of arrests, drink driving reports, traffic and drug offences in a five-week period, an internal police email shows.
The Advertiser has obtained the email, from Holden Hill Senior Sergeant Andrew McCracken to patrol officers on July 28, which listed five benchmark categories including the number of fines, reports and arrests each officer must obtain over five weeks.
Officers who did not meet the benchmarks would be required to provide “an explanation” to Sen-Sgt McCracken and their immediate supervisor.
Senior police now say the email’s directions were “outside of SAPOL’s guidelines and policies” and it had been rescinded.
The five-week targets required each officer to:
MAKE five arrests and reports.
ARREST or report two drink-drivers.
MAKE nine traffic contacts, including on-the-spot fines, using mobile breath tests.
ISSUE one drug-related fine or diversion (for minor illegal drug possession).
The email also said “a minority” of officers at the station had failed to reach the targets during the previous 12 months because they had “coasted” in executing their duty.
“It is clear some of you are really great workers and there are some (the minority) that have coasted,” the email said.
“Those who cannot or choose not to reach these benchmarks will need to provide an explanation to their sergeant and me.
“As stated, though, this is not hard and easily able to be reached and maintained – 99 per cent of you will have no difficulty reaching the standard and blitzing it.”
The email was rescinded on August 2 when local police management were advised.
Police initially told The Advertiser it was rescinded within 24 hours of being sent.
Opposition police spokesman David Ridgway said the email showed contradictions in the messages coming from SA Police.
“It flies in the face of what we’ve been told – that there aren’t quotas for a whole range of activities. If police are putting these things in emails, then clearly there is a view within SA Police at certain levels that they do have quotas and that’s why this person has published that,” he said.
“It’s certainly mixed messages coming out of SA Police.”
Mr Ridgway said setting benchmarks or quotas could compromise police duties.
“I would’ve thought it would distract them from making sure they are providing a whole community policing approach when they are having to focus on particular benchmarks,” he said.
“If they need a drug bust and they haven’t had one, do they forget about every other offence and just go and look for a drug issue?
“We have record numbers of police – they should just be out in the community doing the work and there shouldn’t be any expectation on the number of pinches they do.”
Holden Hill local service area officer-in-charge Superintendent James Blandford said the email was a mistake.
“It is important to note the email was sent to operational staff within the Holden Hill LSA only,” he said.
“The original email was sent by an officer who was relieving in a higher position. The directions given were outside of SAPOL’s guidelines and policies.
“As soon as local management became aware of the email, it was rescinded.” He said SA Police made no secret of the fact benchmarks were set for traffic contacts but this was in no way linked to revenue.
He said almost 30 per cent of traffic contacts ended in a caution. Police would not elaborate on exactly what other areas had set quotas.
“Benchmarks exist across SAPOL for a number policing duties, including responses to emergency calls and requests for police assistance,” Supt Blandford said.
Police Association of South Australia president Mark Carroll said any confusion on quotas had to be addressed immediately.
“SAPOL management has expressed publicly that it does not have, nor does government expect, booking quotas,” he said.