Police Security Response Section

In Parliament, Motions

I move:

That this council notes the significant concerns of many South Australians regarding the arrangements of the new SAPOL Security Response Section (SRS) and calls for a public community consultation process on this matter.

I rise today to call for a community consultation on the SRS. ‘What is the SRS?’, you may wonder. Those of you who were on the streets of Rundle Mall in early July this year would have seen them launched with a somewhat paramilitary-looking Special Response Section, a new police unit, walking down Rundle Mall looking every bit like they were out of the set of a dystopian film rather than the streets of downtown Adelaide.

I draw members’ attention to Sir Robert Peel’s nine principles of policing. Indeed, they may or may not actually have been developed by Sir Robert Peel, but they certainly were the principles formulated in 1829 by the first two commissioners of London’s metropolitan police department.

Principle 1 is obvious: ‘The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder’.

However, Principle 2, ‘The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions’, is most relevant to this particular debate.

Principle 3: ‘Police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public’.

Principle 4: ‘The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force’.

And on to Principle 7: ‘Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence’.

And finally, skipping to Principle 9: ‘The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it’.