South Australia Police

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Police on the subject of training in domestic violence.

The Hon. S.G. Wade interjecting:

Leave granted.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Wade, your colleague is trying to ask a question. Give her the respect.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In relation to the tragic Zahra Abrahimzadeh case, the government released in October 2014 a number of initiatives, including one which is under the heading of SAPOL's responses, and it includes a quote:

Enhanced domestic violence training programs which include a full day visit to a metropolitan domestic violence service to provide cadets with a more direct and personal understanding of the issues facing victims in families of domestic abuse.

Under freedom of information I actually sought to access the number of police officers who had completed that particular training program, and the response came as follows:

It is determined that as at 17 June 2016 , 47 police officers have completed the Domestic Violence Investigators Course. It should be noted that the Domestic Viole nce Investigators Course commenc ed on 2 May 2016.

My questions for the minister are:

1.Are these two separate programs? I was somewhat confused about that.

2.Perhaps he could outline to the chamber what the range of training programs are for police, and update us with numbers for each of those?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:34 ): I thank the honourable member for her question. I will have to take part of that question on notice and I will endeavour to get an answer back to the honourable member as quickly as possible. What I can say is that I am aware of the fact, I am advised of the fact, that SAPOL is very committed to making sure that SAPOL officers, particularly on the front line, dealing with domestic violence disputes, are well trained. There are, as I understand it, as I have been advised, unique skills that can be deployed in respect of dealing with domestic violence disputes.

We are already aware—I think it has been discussed widely—of the substantial spike that we have seen in the number of callouts that SAPOL is responding to that are characterised as being of a domestic violence nature. I know that the police commissioner is very committed to ensuring that his front-line police officers who are responding to those callouts have the training and the skills that they need in order to be able to defuse those disputes and deal with them proactively.

In terms of specific courses, I am aware of some of the statistics that the Hon. Ms Vincent referred to. Regarding the question of whether they are two distinct courses, I will have to take that question on notice. I am more than happy to get an answer as soon as I possibly can.

The PRESIDENT: Supplementary, the Hon. Ms Lensink.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:35 ): Can the minister advise the chamber what the basic training is for all police officers at this stage, as in how many days or hours or modules would all police be required to undertake?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:36 ): I advise that SAPOL not too long ago made a rather significant operational decision to increase the amount of training that cadets receive before they become sworn police officers. I am advised that that course used to be six months in length and now it is 12 months. That decision, I understand, was made to ensure that the training that officers in SAPOL receive is of a far higher level and of a more detailed nature to make them more prepared for all the challenges they now have to deal with. Domestic violence is one of those challenges. Regarding how many specific hours or modules of the current 12-month training package for a new cadet is devoted to domestic violence specifically, I will have to take that on notice.


1 November 2016:

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 7 July 2016 ). 

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) : I am advised: 

The Cadet Training Course and the Domestic Violence Investigators Co urse are two separate programs. The basic training for all South Australia Police (SAPOL) employees in relation to Domestic Violence is as follows: 

The Cadet Training Course involves 51 hours (68 lessons) specifically on Domestic Violence training covering a multitude of topics. Domestic Violence training for all cadets is now the largest module within the Cadet Training Course. This course involves full day visits to the Central Domestic Violence Service office and crisis accommodation units.

The Domestic Violence Investigators Course is a course for specialist Domestic Violence Investigators. This new course was implemented in May 2016 and to date 63 employees have undertaken this new course with a further 67 scheduled for the remainder of the 2016 calendar year.

For existing SAPOL employees, a new corporate training package Policing Domestic Violence was introduced in 2015. This course was designed to update all employees on changes to legislation, policy and procedures.