Motion - Consideration and Noting - Department of Police and Emergency Management 2014-15 Annual Re

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, just before lunch I was speaking about the police officers in courts. I would be interested to know how many police officers per week are attending courts in Launceston. I was of the understanding that that was to cease and that they were to have security agents, as they do in Hobart. Perhaps the Leader could let me know about that.

Regarding driving while using mobile phones, I note that Tasmania Police issued 3 258 infringement notices, 'whilst using a handheld mobile phone', an increase from the 2 914 infringements. I also note that there has been a decrease of 23 per cent since 2013-14. It has been mentioned to me - and I am sure other members feel - that when you are speaking on a hands-free mobile phone, you are not concentrating as much. You certainly can be distracted, and I would have thought you are distracted just as much as if you are - I know you have one hand off the wheel, but apart from that, the distraction would seem to be the same, so I wonder whether the police -

Ms Forrest - It is same as having passengers in the car; they can distract you too.

Mrs Armitage - They certainly can, but I wonder if the police or the Leader could give me some advice on mobiles phones.

Another question that I have is regarding sick leave. I notice that sick leave was slightly up. I wondered if any of that was related to stress on the job, and if you have any indication of sick leave or how it relates. Do they look in depth into sick leave, to find out how it goes across the board with the officers? I could not find anything in the report - it is possibly there, but maybe I just could not find it - to do with workers compensation. I thought workers compensation and sick leave play together. I could not find how many workers were off on workers compensation, or how many work hours were lost with workers compensation. If that is in here somewhere, could someone please point out to me exactly where it is in the report, and whether the workers compensation might be related to stress? We know that police officers have extremely stressful jobs, probably more so than most in the community.

The last question I have, on page 88, is about quantifiable contingent liabilities. I am wondering what they relate to. I notice in 2014, there were 268 000, and in 2015, 79 000. As at 30 June 2014, the department had a number of claims against it for legal disputes. Have they been resolved, because of the difference between 2014 and 2015? Are they still ongoing? What is the situation with regards to them? Could the Leader explain a little bit about those?

I thank the member for Windermere. As he mentioned, it is important to note annual reports as sometimes you find things in the report that you did not note the first time when you were glancing through it. When someone brings something up, you can add a little bit more.

I thank Tasmania Police. They try their best to protect, serve and make our state a better and safer place, and they do it often under very trying conditions. Often they are not appreciated until someone actually needs them. It is only when you need a police officer you start to appreciate just how great it is to have them there.

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