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Sensible approach to saving Police time

Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Police

20 March 2013

Sensible approach to saving Police time

Police Minister Anne Tolley says pre-charge warnings are saving thousands of hours of Police time every year which are being reinvested back into frontline crime prevention.

In the 2011/12 financial year, Police issued 21,866 pre-charge warnings, which freed up around 37,000 Police hours - the equivalent of 21 additional frontline officers.

The warnings also reduced the flow of new charges to District Courts by 12 per cent, saving Police time preparing files for court.

“This common sense approach to Policing is proving to be a great success,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Pre-charge warnings for low-level offences were introduced nationwide in September 2010. Police can arrest a person, take them to the station for processing, and if appropriate and if they admit guilt the Police can issue a warning as an alternative to a charge or prosecution.

“This goes on the offender’s record and is included in Police crime statistics.

“In 2011/12, 26 per cent of the warnings were for disorderly behaviour, 24 per cent were for breach of a liquor ban, eight per cent were for shoplifting (under $500), and seven per cent for fighting in a public place.

“So Police are getting these offenders off the streets and out of volatile situations, punishing them, and by using discretion are making sure they don’t clog up our judicial system with offences which would probably have led to diversion.

“Nearly 80 per cent of those receiving warnings were not re-arrested for a subsequent offence within six months, showing that Police are using their discretion appropriately and offenders are taking the pre-charge warnings seriously.”

In the 2012/13 financial year, up to 31 December 2012, Police had issued 12,850 pre-charge warnings, with a similar breakdown of offences.


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