Sustaining the unsustainable: police and community safety review, final report

Information technology Australia Queensland


The review team has observed that in many instances the wisdom of the crowd and of individual community members has often led to good outcomes for the community. For example, recent disasters have highlighted the way people provide information to one another through social networking. Given the potential for self-organisation of ideas, information and effort, we believe that now is the time to consider shifting a level of risk back to the community and empowering people to assist each other and themselves to make their communities safer.

Government should not see itself as the only option to solving community problems. Given the opportunity, the community and private sector may offer a range of more efficient and effective alternatives.

In recommending changes to the current arrangements, the Review team has recognised that some agencies in the cluster are ‗demand takers‘ while other agencies are ‗demand creators‘. For example, if those in the justice system do not fully embrace the use of modern technology the demand for having to move prisoners from prisons to courts will be higher. Equally, if police make more arrests and retain people in custody, this creates more demand on both Corrections and the Courts.

One of the key findings of the review is that response services, which must be reactive to demand, should be aligned with those services which can prevent or mitigate this demand. The review team has therefore recommended that the Queensland Ambulance Service and Corrections be transferred to departments with which they have a stronger alignment. Often the effectiveness of the relationships will depend upon who has any 'skin in the game'. If an agency can operate without considering the impact of its operations on the effectiveness of a stakeholder agency then it tends to do so. The efficacy of the coordination of all of the players in the system is therefore paramount. Leadership and culture at all levels is just as important as structure for the system to work effectively. Nonetheless, recognising that structure should follow strategy, the review team has proposed a portfolio approach which we believe will provide both better outcomes and better value for money for the Government and the community.

The Review team's conclusion is that the Police and Community Safety agencies are not broken, as the Minister stated in commissioning this review. However, we did find significant flaws making the current arrangements unsustainable despite the goodwill and hard fought efforts of frontline staff.

Our proposed solution has been to design a portfolio approach which we believe will strengthen transparency and accountability and ensure sustained improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and interoperability.

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