Federal police exodus: Labor
THE number of Australian Federal Police officers stationed in Tasmania has been cut by 85 per cent in the past four years, the federal Labor Party says.
There were 32 AFP personnel in the state in 2013, but just five now, Labor’s justice spokeswoman Clare O’Neil said.
The AFP’s decision to remove officers from Hobart Airport in 2015 has been controversial and there have been calls for them to be reinstated in the wake of an alleged plot to blow up an aircraft departing Sydney Airport in July.
Security at major airports was stepped up in the wake of the incident.
The State Government has pressed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to bring back federal police at the Hobart airport.
Ms O’Neil said the number of officers had fallen in Tasmania as the AFP’s overall strength had been increased by 10 per cent nationwide in the past decade.
She said that in addition to securing the airport, the AFP also had responsibility for other crimes.
“The AFP has responsibility for many serious crimes such as drug offences, child protection crimes, human trafficking, fraud and organised crime.
“It is difficult to know how many serious crimes like these are now going undetected because of the huge cut to Tasmania’s AFP presence.
“The drop is shocking. Tas-
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Ms Harding will launch the annual Myer Spring Fashion lunch on Wednesday. manians have the same right to feel safe as any other Australian,” she said.
Commonwealth Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the Labor Party’s claims on AFP numbers in Tasmania were misleading.
“As the Labor Party would know, Tasmania Police are currently responsible for providing policing services at Hobart airport, following assessments and advice from our security agencies,” a spokesman for Mr Keenan said. “Should Hobart airport’s risk profile change, a review of the security settings will be undertaken.
“The AFP continues to have an operational presence in Tasmania and works closely with Tasmania Police on a range of policing matters.”
Franklin Labor MHR Julie Collins called on the Federal Government to “start standing up for our state”.
“It’s just not good enough that the Turnbull Government is continuing to ignore Tasmania and Tasmanians,” she said.
SAFETY ISSUE: The Mercury reports last month on the campaign to return the AFP.