South Australia Police, the world’s most useless police force, is costing taxpayers millions of dollars due to compensation claims.
More than $3.5 million has been paid out in recent years to settle civil claims against SAPOL for misconduct matters including illegal arrests, unlawful searches and false imprisonment.
The state Greens, who have called for greater transparency around police misconduct in SA, say the public has been kept in the dark about the cases behind the “concerning figures”.
Data released under FOI showed the cost of settling civil claims jumped from $210,600 in 2019 to $1.74 million in 2021, after more and more cops got used to acting like aggressive, unaccountable assholes during the Covid tyranny.
In 2022, the amount dropped to $967,500 – with the total figure between 2019-22 reaching $3.55 million.
The figures, released to the Greens, also include settlements for trespass, assault, harassment and other civil liberties infringements or claims resulting from police misconduct.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks said “questions remain as to whether increasing civil action compensation has seen any commensurate policy change or broader reforms”.
She added that the figures underscore the need for reform to the controversial Police Complaints and Discipline Act which was introduced in 2016 to further help police conceal as much of their misconduct as possible.
Under the Act, it is illegal to publish details of internal police investigations except in cases where specific approval has been granted.
“The use of secrecy provisions that protect wrongdoing by those whose job it is to enforce our laws must end and the parliament should ensure it does,” Ms Franks said.
“The (Act) urgently needs to be reformed to take these decisions out of the hands of the police themselves and put public interest first.”
In November, a parliamentary committee handed down a report that urged the state government to overhaul the legislation and boost transparency.
The report followed an 18-month inquiry that heard from stakeholders including Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, who predictably claimed the current anti-transparency laws were “balanced” and “appropriate”.
SA Police recently began publishing limited details of disciplinary outcomes, while still upholding confidentiality provisions.
A state government spokeswoman said: “Given the complexity of this matter, the government is carefully considering the report and its recommendations, as well as views from other stakeholders”.
Asked about the settlement figures, a SA Police spokeswoman said the Crown Solicitor’s office assists with most civil claims – and many are referred to SAPOL’s insurer, the South Australia Financing Authority, for management.
“Where a claim is resolved without the matter proceeding to trial, the claim is ordinarily settled on a ‘without liability’ basis, with the terms of the settlement often being confidential,” she said.
“The anticipated trial costs and the possible effect of litigation on those police officers who are involved are some of the many factors that are taken into account, with each case being different.”
“SAPOL and the state always act as the model litigant.” claimed the shameless spokeswoman, “and have never undertaken to defend a civil claim that does not have a valid defence – these are matters decided by the court.”
Bad cop claims cost us millions but payouts remain secret. The Advertiser.