Mr GARDNER: I will go straight to questions. In relation to—let's take Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 141—there are a number of other potential references. I would like to begin, if I might, with a number of questions arising from the Coroner's inquest into the death of Zahra Abrahimzadeh. It is a serious matter, and I do appreciate the information that I have been provided by SAPOL over the last fortnight in relation to this matter, and I acknowledge that there are number of reforms that SAPOL has undertaken as a result of the case.
The Coroner felt it necessary to put his recommendations to the government rather than to the police commissioner. With that in mind, and I assume that you have read the Coroner's report, I wonder whether you have an initial response to the Coroner's finding and recommendations, as the responsible minister for the agency concerned?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Do you mean overall?
Mr GARDNER: What is your response to the Coroner as the responsible minister?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: As you mentioned, the response went to the government. What I can advise is that SAPOL has advised me that a number of those recommendations were not a surprise to SAPOL; in fact, some of those recommendations were as a result of the submissions SAPOL made to the coronial inquiry itself and, in fact, SAPOL had been very proactive and had already had a corporate review of a whole range of processes when this matter first came to their attention when, unfortunately, there was the very sad death of the person involved.
A number of those things which have been recommended have been put in place, and in relation to the ones which have not been put in place to date the police are working out how they can do that. My initial reaction would be that the Coroner's report is one which we need to take into account to make sure that people feel safe in their homes.
Mr GARDNER: Are there any of the Coroner's 10 recommendations or various findings that you believe are unreasonable or unfair?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Certainly not unreasonable or unfair. As to whether they are the only way to address that issue might be a question which the police will need to investigate. I think the Coroner is looking for a result and, as you would be aware, results can be obtained in a whole range of different ways. What is clear from the Coroner's report is that certain circumstances should not arise again. I will trust SAPOL to work through those recommendations to work out, given their operations, how we can best achieve that outcome.
Mr GARDNER: What would the budgetary impact of those recommendations be if implemented in full?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: For the ones which have not been implemented, we are still working through that, so we do not have a budget figure for you at this point in time but, once we have, we will share that with you. You must remember that the report came down only recently.
Mr GARDNER:Certainly. From what I have read about and seen on the television and in person, and I appreciate the initial response by Deputy Commissioner Stevens, I understand that the commissioner is preparing a more complete response on behalf of SAPOL to the Coroner's report. Will the commissioner's response be a public document or is his advice just to be provided to government to inform the Premier's response?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The commissioner's advice will be to the Premier, and the Premier will then determine what is appropriate to be made public, given that there are certain things that the police do not say publicly to make sure that they do not enable offenders to know how we collect information and also undertake certain compliance activities.
Mr GARDNER: In presenting the government's response on behalf of the government, what other sources is the Premier seeking input from?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: You will need to ask the Premier. I can tell you only what SAPOL is doing.
Mr GARDNER:Are you going to give advice to the Premier in any way separate or in addition to that provided by the commissioner?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: What I can say is that the issue of domestic violence is one which the Premier has made very clear he wishes to tackle and one which is taken most seriously; in fact, we are working across a whole number of agencies to make sure that our response to domestic violence is coordinated in a way to collect intelligence from agencies in the early phases. There will be a number of agencies involved in that process, what is called the MAPS project, and there will be, I assume, a number of ministers who will get advice from their own agencies about how they can cooperate and work to achieve a better outcome.
Mr GARDNER: That MAPS project has been underway for some time—certainly before the Coroner's findings were handed down—although I appreciate that the Abrahimzadeh case was one of the incidents that led police to going down that track. I suppose what I am interested in is whether your view is, as a minister, you have any role other than to take in what police provide and pass that on to the Premier, or whether there is any questioning, any interrogation of the materials that are provided to you?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: As you would be aware, in our system of justice the police have a very clear role, and the last thing you would want in a system of police enforcement is political interference. I certainly understand my role and my relationship with the police. The act is very clear, and that is the view of the parliament, that people like myself and any minister should not interfere with operational matters.
My role would be to ensure that if police come to me regarding issues around resources, etc., I put that to cabinet. It is not up to me to direct police, and it would be quite improper for me to direct police on how they undertake their activities. For example, if the police were to get some sort of roadblock in some interagency issue, I would raise that with the relevant minister. But in terms of directing them on how to respond to their day-to-day activities, that would be quite inappropriate.
Mr GARDNER: To be clear, in relation to this matter, where the Coroner has seen fit to go to the Premier and not to the police with his recommendations, you see your role in that process as being a conduit rather than as somebody who has something to contribute to that discussion?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, what I actually said, and I will say it again, is that if police come to me with a matter which requires, for example, a change in legislation or on a matter of lack of funding or issues which clearly are a government issue, I would listen to those matters and bring them to the appropriate forum, whether it is cabinet or the Premier or whatever. If you are saying that I would somehow direct the police to behave in a particular way, that would be highly inappropriate.
Mr GARDNER: That is not what I said, but at any rate—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, I did not say you did. I said that if you are saying that, it would be inappropriate.
Mr GARDNER: I am glad we cleared that up. I refer to page 141, the activity indicators. In relation to the Coroner's second recommendation, that the SAPOL criminal justice section be staffed by legal practitioners so that domestic violence restraining orders can be properly presented before magistrates, and also the Coroner's sixth recommendation, that prosecutors appearing in domestic violence matters must, as a matter of course, seek out all available information about the longitudinal history of the domestic violence offending, particularly from Family Court documents, if those exist, I note that the activity indicators identify some 68,156 briefs that went through the criminal justice section last year, and this is similar to the Coroner's report, item 17.4, which identified 150 to 160 prosecutors handling 65,000 briefs. How many SAPOL prosecutors are currently handling that workload of 68,000 briefs as at 30 June?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I do not have an exact figure. The figure is around about 190, but I will get the exact figure for you.
Mr GARDNER: That seems to suggest a slight reduction in the number of briefs per prosecutor since 2009-10, when it was 430 briefs per prosecutor, so presumably it is down to around 400, or just under. It was a figure the Coroner identified as clearly too high, or too high for the police prosecutors managing that workload. How many domestic violence restraining orders presented in the last 12 months and perhaps if you would like to take on notice the previous three years as well?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Can you just clarify that first part of your question to make sure we are speaking about the same thing?
Mr GARDNER: Domestic violence restraining orders in the 2013-14 year.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: What I can advise is that from 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2014 and after the commencement of the new legislation, SAPOL have issued 1,509 police interim intervention orders. Is that what you are referring to?
Mr GARDNER: They are amongst the options, yes.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: There were 1,125 applications made to the court by police on behalf of victims.
Mr GARDNER: So 1,125 to the court. Is there a specific group of prosecutors who deal with the applications to the court, or are we talking about five per prosecutor, or is there a smaller group of prosecutors that has a higher workload in this area?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It varies from area to area, but some areas do already have officers who specialise in domestic violence. We are actually introducing that as a standard approach right across the board. That change is as a result of our own internal review and the case you have put on—
Mr GARDNER: That is one of the 47 recommendations.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: To be clear, that will mean that all domestic violence restraining order applications to the court will be handled by people specialising in this area?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That is the plan.
Mr GARDNER: That is the plan. Are they entirely police prosecutors, or is that including civilian prosecutors the police are considering engaging?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: At the moment, it is all SAPOL sworn officers. As you would be aware, we are recruiting civilian prosecutors, and that decision will be made once we have those prosecutors on board and also how to best utilise their skills in those areas.
Mr GARDNER: How many civilian prosecutors are you seeking to employ in the coming financial year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: There will be four civilians: three will be qualified solicitors and one will be a paralegal. We are reviewing whether we can actually introduce that into other areas, and that is subject to discussions at the moment.
Mr GARDNER: Three solicitors and a paralegal; what will their pay grades be?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Whatever the appropriate rates for those people would be.
Mr GARDNER: Presumably that varies significantly depending on their experience. I understand they are supposed to have an unrestricted licence.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: You are quite right, and my advice is that they should have an unrestricted practising certificate. As to the pay rates, I will get those figures for you, but I just note in this morning's paper that the head of the Law Society is quite confident that we will attract the right people, because the pay rates are comparable.
Mr GARDNER: Well, the head of the Law Society took issue with a number of suggestions raised by anonymous sources in a prior article, but did not identify—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It was not you, was it? You were not the source, were you?
Mr GARDNER: I was not the source, sir. That is a very strange thing to say. But it did not have any identification of the pay grades available, so I would appreciate that information.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, I will get that for you. But in fairness to the comment this morning, the head of the Law Society made it very clear and unambiguously said that his view was that we would not have difficulty in recruiting people because the pay rates—
Mr GARDNER: I think he said there are plenty of unemployed lawyers in South Australia.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, the point he made was that the pay rates are comparable with other Public Service positions, so the person would not be under difficulty on a pay rates basis. What he also said was that, for some person who wants a career in criminal law, it would be a good place to actually do some work, and I would concur with that.
Mr GARDNER: I agree, too. It does not mean that both statements cannot be true. Are there any reasons, apart from potentially the time available to the relevant prosecutor, that the Coroner's sixth recommendation, in relation to the full history of the victim and the family situation involved, does not take place now? Are there any legal impediments, or is it just that the prosecutors who have found this situation, that they cannot seek family court documentation because they just do not have time?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised that, in terms of ensuring prosecutors have all the relevant information, as part of the internal review as a result of this matter, a better process has been put in place to ensure that. Secondly, in terms of the Family Court information, that is being worked on as we speak, to make sure that is available as well.
Mr GARDNER: One of the pieces of evidence tendered in the Coroner’s inquest was that magistrates were allegedly dissuading police prosecutors from presenting too lengthy briefs. Has there been any recurrence of that complaint amongst police prosecutors, particularly in relation to domestic violence cases?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised: not that we are aware of; however, SAPOL are working with the Chief Magistrate to make sure there is a consistent approach across all the prosecutors and all the courts.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you. Going to the same reference, in fact, the Coroner’s seventh recommendation is:
…that prosecutors appearing in domestic violence matters must, as a matter of course, establish the outcome of the offence [police incident reports] underlying the application;
Throughout the Coroner’s report, there is a troubling number of occasions, I think it would be fair to say, when various officers failed to act by arresting Mr Abrahimzadeh, despite the outstanding PIRs, for a range of proffered reasons which were not convincing to the Coroner. What SAPOL processes have now been improved that would prevent a recurrence of something like this where, even when a domestic violence order was served on the man, the outstanding arrest warrants were not acted on?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: What I can say is that for a number of those issues you have raised, SAPOL acknowledged to the Coroner themselves that they could have done a lot better. In terms of what SAPOL are now doing, I will ask the deputy commissioner to give you details.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you.
Mr STEVENS: Part of our review has looked at access to information and ensuring that our officers take timely and decisive action when they have a domestic violence victim providing information. We have made it clear that the failures that occurred in the Abrahimzadeh matter centred around the lack of action by our officers. We are taking a comprehensive approach to how we change that, and it is about making sure that the culture within SAPOL is appropriate, and people recognise their obligations and act in accordance with our expectations.
We have reviewed all of our general orders that relate to domestic violence and, whilst we have found that those orders are, in the main, comprehensive and well structured, we have ensured that there is no potential for our operational police to struggle to find relevant information that would guide their actions.
The other point that we would make is that, whilst we acknowledge there are opportunities for improving the system, it still requires the will of individual officers to fulfil their obligations, and we are ensuring that all of our operational police understand those obligations and act accordingly. The minister has reminded me, as well that, as a result of the inquest and our own review, we have initiated comprehensive reform to our training program, which is seeing an enhancement to training around domestic violence for—
Mr GARDNER: This is training of cadets?
Mr STEVENS: Police recruits, as well as general duties police who have already graduated. We are looking at another level of training for investigators, and then a higher level again for those people who are specialising in providing services to domestic violence victims.
Mr GARDNER: I will jump ahead slightly, as that fits in with the Coroner’s fourth recommendation:
…that the domestic violence training that cadets receive at the Police Academy from external domestic violence agencies occupy at least one day, rather than the half day [as currently];
I assume that the Coroner is talking about victims' services in that instance, so the suggestion is to increase work with victims' services from half a day to a full day, and you may well be undertaking that. Are there any other outside providers who provide that domestic violence training, or are we just talking about internal provision of training by police at the academy?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will let the deputy commissioner provide the exact details, but I can advise that we will actually be working with domestic violence workers in women's refuges, etc., to make sure we fully understand the whole cycle of domestic violence, and to also make sure that we can support the victims and their families. The deputy commissioner will now give the detail of the new training.
Mr STEVENS: Thank you. At the inquest, the Western Adelaide Domestic Violence manager gave evidence that cadets are exposed to four hours, or half a day, of training with an external service provider. It is my view that the impression was left that training for police cadets in relation to domestic violence was limited to four hours. The reality is that, under the current regime, our police cadets are receiving 37 hours of training that relate specifically to domestic violence and our response as operational police.
It is correct that half a day was allocated to Western Adelaide Domestic Violence as an external stakeholder; however, there were other external agencies that were presenting to police cadets in terms of managing domestic violence and responding to domestic violence. In addition to that, we have internal resources that deal with legislation, operational considerations, the psychology of domestic violence and managing domestic violence victims.
So, whilst it was comprehensive, it was certainly acknowledged that there was only half a day for one particular service provider. As a result of our review of the recruit training program and the expansion of that program to 52 weeks, there is going to be a substantial increase in the amount of time allocated to domestic violence training, and we expect that the service provider in question is probably going to have a greater level of involvement going forward.
Mr GARDNER: Alright. I will look forward to seeing the detail when that is finalised. On page 134, the activity indicators, we are looking at the number of calls received by the call centre. The estimated result for 2013-14 is 402,913 calls. What proportion of those calls were on matters related to domestic violence?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will have to take that question on notice in terms of the actual split-up of the figures, but what I can advise is we take approximately 10,000 calls that relate to domestic violence per year.
Mr GARDNER: The Coroner's recommendation No. 3, you would be aware, is that:
…domestic violence calls to the SAPOL call centre are handled by sworn police officers with particular training in domestic violence risk assessment.
If that figure of 10,000 is correct, then we are talking about approximately 2 per cent of calls received. Can you identify how many sworn and unsworn staff respectively are currently assigned to staffing the call centre?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: If I can just clarify, it is actually 10,000 incidents, so some incidents may actually generate a higher level of call.
Mr GARDNER: So, 2½ or a bit more.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: A bit more, that's right. While we are seeking that information, my advice is that the 131 444 number is actually supervised by sworn officers, but the calls are taken by civilian people.
Mr GARDNER: Yes, I understand that, so how many by civilians and how many by sworn officers?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: With the 000 number, they are all police.
Mr GARDNER: As to the 400,000 calls, is that 131 444 or does that include 000 and Crime Stoppers?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, the 400,000 figure is 131 444.
Mr GARDNER: You can take it on notice if you like, but I would like to know regarding those answering that 131 444 line, how many unsworn staff are taking the calls and how many sworn staff are supervising them?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: And just for your information, the 000 number would get about 150,000 calls.
Mr GARDNER: Yes, it has that on the next line in the budget paper. Is there a specific budget line identifying the staff costs in the call centres, and is it possible to identify those costs?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The answer is yes, we can identify them for you. We will have to get those figures for you though.
Mr GARDNER: In reference to page 132 under Activity indicators and the 138 operational police stations across South Australia, the Coroner's ninth recommendation is that when a domestic violence victim makes a report at a police station, they are afforded an opportunity of privacy in an interview room. Is this a feasible request at all existing police stations? Is there a private interview room at all of these stations?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised that that is the policy of SAPOL to do that. In those situations where that is difficult to do, they will arrange a particular time for that person to come in to ensure that will happen. Basically the answer is that SAPOL will ensure that people can report issues of domestic violence in private.
Mr GARDNER: On the basis that presumably sometimes somebody might present and the private room is occupied or it might be at a station where there is not a private room, is it general orders that identify that they will be followed up and helped to make another appointment?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The best way to answer that is that the police are very cognisant of the recommendation of the Coroner and are working to make sure that that is implemented across the board.
Mr GARDNER: So is every station to have an interview room? Is there to be some time frame allocated by which people are going to receive private attendance?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I think that what the police are doing at the moment is looking at ways to make sure that the general orders they issue reflect what is possible in the circumstances. The short answer is the recommendation by the Coroner will be implemented in the most practical way possible.
Mr GARDNER: Minister, the response you gave earlier and indeed information from SAPOL is that SAPOL provided a great deal of the information that the Coroner based his report and recommendations on, that the 47 recommendations of the internal review are being acted on and so much of that work is underway. Even though the Coroner's report has been handed down not that long ago, when are we going to have this response to the report which will identify which matters are going to be dealt with in full, in part or in any other way?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The response to the Coroner will come from the Premier, as you can appreciate. As you indicated, the Coroner has indicated the report to him. SAPOL are in the process of collecting that advice for the Premier and we hope to have that advice to the Premier within the next month.
Mr GARDNER: Subsequent to the death of Mrs Abrahimzadeh, we have discussed the internal review that SAPOL conducted. What is the nature of any recommendations in that internal review that are yet to be implemented or commenced? Are there any recommendations in that review that are yet to be implemented or commenced?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will ask the deputy commissioner to respond direct.
Mr STEVENS: We categorise the recommendations into 10 key areas, and there is work occurring against all of those recommendations, to varying degrees. We have done significant work to ensure that the alignment of general orders is appropriate, as I mentioned before. We are currently commencing the process of enhancing our training outside of the recruit training. The recruit training element is being taken care of by our review and implementation of the new 52-week training course. We are looking at some of the practical applications that are also reflected in the Coroner's findings in terms of how we manage process and deal with victims.
We are also well and truly underway with the establishment of the domestic violence portfolio, which is chaired by myself. It ensures that we have a high level corporate appreciation of our response to domestic violence, and we are ensuring that any trends and issues are identified at the strategic level and addressed. We are also making sure that any changes in police practice are identified and implemented across the board, rather than a silent approach.
So, that being the most significant one, that is where we have put most of our energy at this point in time, but there are a lot of mechanical aspects to the 47 recommendations which are being attended to as well. We have a dedicated project officer who has structured our response to our own recommendations and is also factoring in those recommendations made by the Coroner that overlap with what we have recommended ourselves.
Mr GARDNER: When will that response be complete? What is the end-date by which all of these processes will be underway?
Mr STEVENS: We do not have a specific end date. We are endeavouring to work through these as quickly as possible to make sure that the changes we expect to occur within SAPOL happen as quickly as possible. Some of the recommendations are yet to be scoped in terms of the amount of time it is going to take to complete them, but our intention is to work aggressively to ensure that they are implemented as quickly as possible.
That will include the Coroner's recommendations that already, we understand, mirror some of our own recommendations. Once we have assessed and provided a response to the Premier in relation to the other recommendations of the Coroner that do not fit specifically within our own review recommendations, we will work towards implementing those as well.
Mr GARDNER: One of the things that has come up this morning is the importance of consistency in application by police officers and magistrates at every stage of the process. Some of the evidence given by Maria Hagias in the Coroner's inquest identified that a practice of approaching victims to see if they still wanted to go ahead with violence orders or prosecutions was still taking place, and obviously that is understood to not be appropriate. Perhaps in this area can you identify when you hope to have that consistency across the board fully implemented?
Mr STEVENS: Once again, we do not have a time frame set for that, but can I say that this is part of the cultural shift that we are endeavouring to achieve, and that has commenced and is being worked on in earnest. It is being driven by the commissioner and myself in relation to ensuring that all police understand our position in relation to responding to domestic violence.
The particular issue you are referring to there, and that is seeking advice from a victim as to whether they want to proceed or not, is clearly articulated as unacceptable. We should be looking to take action, decisive action, against the offender until such time as the victim comes to us and expresses a desire for the matter not to proceed. Even in that case, it is our view—and this is being articulated to our workforce—that we need to ensure that the motives of the victim are appropriate and not being made under some form of coercion and, where possible, if we believe that matter is significantly serious enough, that we should continue to proceed even if it is against the wishes of the victim, but that would be in the extreme.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We also need to make sure that any response by anybody who works in this area, not only SAPOL, does not disempower women involved, or the victim. It can be a very fine line between empowering somebody and disempowering somebody in the approach you take; so we have to make sure that we act in a way which does not disempower them or take away their dignity.
Mr GARDNER: I appreciate that, minister, but one of the things that comes through clearly in the Coroner's report is that it is not appropriate to see as disempowering to women the idea that, when they have gone to the trouble of making a statement—going to a station, having an incident report filed against their partner—to assume that their first reaction will want to be that the prosecution goes ahead.
I think the Coroner makes it quite clear that in that circumstance the empowering thing is to assume that they will in fact approach police or the prosecutor if they wish to withdraw the claim. I urge you to be very careful in the way you pursue that matter of empowerment or disempowerment because I am not entirely sure from that response that the balance is correct.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The balance has not been correct and the deputy commissioner has indicated that we need to get that changed, so I was not suggesting that. I am suggesting that we make sure that we keep listening to people in the environment and that we should not just make judgements on any silence. My point was to make sure that we engage the people and make sure that they feel they are in control. That was the observation I was making.
Mr GARDNER: I note that the member for Mitchell is with us, and I believe he has a line he would like to pursue.
Mr GARDNER: We will get back to that budget line but, in the meantime, Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 127, the workforce summary: when is the government going to reach its recruit 300 commitment?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise that the 2010 government commitment was for 300 additional police, as you have indicated. The 2010-11 state budget included an additional 313 FTE police, to be phased in over a four-year period to 2013-14. In the 2013-14 budget, that commitment was extended to be achieved by 2017-18. To the end of 2012-13, SAPOL has recruited an additional 129 FTEs and a further 50 FTEs have been recruited during 2013-14, as per budget.
These additional 50 FTEs were recruited in the first five months of 2013-14 in cadet courses that graduated before the end of June 2014. The remaining 134 FTEs recruited are: 20 FTEs, in 2014-15; 20 FTEs, in 2015-16; 47 FTEs, in 2016-17; and 47 FTEs, in 2017-18. That is it, and that answers your question, I think.
Mr GARDNER: I might finish my thought before I let the member for Mitchell take my place again.
The CHAIR: Okay; back to you, member for Morialta.
Mr GARDNER: Minister, when the 2010 election commitment was made, which you identified was originally to be promised by June 2014, was it the commitment that there would be 313 extra police officers working or 313 police officers, community constables and cadets in training?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised that the understanding is that it is 313 additional sworn officers, not cadets or community constables. The 13 figure is because of the transit police contribution.
Mr GARDNER: I appreciate that. So, we will use the 300 and the 313 interchangeably if you like, understanding that it is the same figure and the same commitment.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: The target that has your meeting that commitment in the 2017-18 year, does that number include cadets in the number of sworn officers?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The deputy commissioner advises me that, no, it does not.
Mr GARDNER: On what date will the target be met? What is the 'mission accomplished' date, not including the cadets?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: As a previous president found out, it is always a bit dangerous to talk about mission accomplished, but it is 2017-18.
Mr GARDNER: The Deputy Premier had a go at it on Friday.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: During 2017-18.
Mr GARDNER: The date 30 June 2018 is the date and, as you have just said, cadets will not be included in that date four years from today?
The Hon. P. CAICA: After they have graduated.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: After they have graduated.
Mr GARDNER: After they have graduated, they are not cadets anymore; they are probationary officers?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes
Mr GARDNER: Can we have the number of sworn police officers as at 30 June this year, please?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We had the following at the end of 2013-14, in terms of sworn officers: 4,496.1. Would you like the community constables and cadets as well?
Mr GARDNER: That sworn officers figure is 4,496.1? What is the number you just said; can you repeat that again?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The total figure, which includes both community constables and cadets, is 5,645.5.
Mr GARDNER: Hang on, 5,645; that sounds like unsworn as well.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am looking at the wrong figures, sorry. It includes the unsworn people. Of that, total sworn and cadet is 4,602.7.
Mr GARDNER: 4,602.7.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, which includes 80 cadets and 26.6 community constables.
Mr GARDNER: You can take this one on notice if you like. Can you provide a full list of timings and expected or desired numbers for all of the recruitment intakes, including commencement dates and completion dates—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Sorry, can you slow down when you speak?
Mr GARDNER: If I slow down, you might try to answer it now, and I want you to take it on notice but, okay, I will leave it to you. Can you provide for the committee, please, a full list of timings and expected or desired numbers for all recruitment intakes, including commencement dates and completion dates for the last financial year, on the basis that there are some commencement dates that have not been completed, and the other financial years ahead in the forward estimates, for which we have those dates available?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: You are giving me that as a question on notice, is that correct?
Mr GARDNER: It is up to you, but I am happy for you to take it on notice; it would seem like the thing to do.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Okay.
Mr GARDNER: How much attrition took place in sworn officers in each category—cadets, community constables and what I think everybody would see as the standard sworn officers—in 2013-14?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised it is 131.
Mr GARDNER: Are any of those 131 either cadets or community constables?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, 131 are all sworn officers.
Mr GARDNER: Are you able to provide the anticipated attrition rate for all of the years in the forward estimates?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will answer the question by saying that we are anticipating there to be 140 in 2014-15. That is an estimate because it depends on the trends. I will put that into context: for example, in 2011-12 it was 157; in 2012-13 it was 145; and in 2013-14 it is 131, so it is trending downwards. Obviously, more police officers are staying on which is a good thing. At this stage we expect 140, but the ultimate actual figure may be slightly different. It is too hard to predict beyond 2014-15 because we have to see what the trend is over the last few years.
Mr GARDNER: I have got a question.
The CHAIR: Member for Morialta.
Mr GARDNER: Can I turn the minister’s attention to the activity line in Budget Paper 4, Volume 1: Correctional Services Workforce Summary. Minister, you draw a salary—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Hold on; Correctional Services—
The CHAIR: Order!
Mr GARDNER: You draw a salary to be the minister for the Crown, and you have a role to perform.
The CHAIR: Order, members on my left! Correctional Services is later in the day; that was agreed to this morning, so we need to go onto something with police. Member for Morialta, if you want to give the call to the member for Mitchell, that is quite in order.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am more than happy to justify my role.
Mr GARDNER: In Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 139, activity indicators, particularly in relation to drug diversions, it is identified that the indicators are not now comparable, based on a change to the counting rule. Can you identify what the nature of the change is? This particularly applies to the drug diversion initiative.
Across all these indicators, there has been a reflection that the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification is now being used. In relation to drug diversions, are there diversions that are not captured by this indicator, or are we diverting a different category of people we were not diverting before? I am just wondering on what basis this particular indicator is now non-comparable, based on this counting rule change.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I do not have the information at my fingertips. I will have to take it on notice; however, if we identify it before the session is over, I will give you the answer.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you, sir. Can you also identify on what date the counting rule changed, i.e. which year is incompatible with which other? There are three years in question, so presumably one would hope that at least two of them are relative to each other. Can we also get an update—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: On the last question, I can tell you that the results for 2012-13 actual and the 2014 estimated result cannot be compared due to the counting rule changes necessary to reflect the transition to Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification.
Mr GARDNER: Are you saying that 2012-13 actual and the 2013-14 result are the ones that cannot be compared with each other?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Due to the counting rule changes necessary to reflect the transition to Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification.
Mr GARDNER: But the information you have taken on notice is on what basis? The drug diversions one is—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Which is a separate question, yes.
Mr GARDNER: Certainly. While you are taking that on notice, perhaps you could get an update also to the 30 June figure, rather than the estimated result. In relation to the drug diversion program, how many offenders in the last year undertook the program once, more than once, more than twice and more than five times?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am aware that there is a matter on this topic before the parliament at the moment. Would that influence what can be asked and not asked? There is a —
Mr GARDNER: If we were making an argument, I think you would have a point of order.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, I am just asking to make sure I go by the rules.
Mr GARDNER: I was just trying to assist. I was not trying to be provocative.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am just saying there is a bill before parliament on this matter, and I am just wondering whether or not it impacts on that; if it does not, I am happy to—
Mr GARDNER: The bill before parliament, for your information, Chair, is in relation to—
The CHAIR: It's alright.
Mr GARDNER: You are across it?
The CHAIR: Thank you anyway.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will seek the advice first.
The CHAIR: The advice is that you would not want to go into areas that are being debated within the bill, but you can answer within the scope of whatever information you have.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise that since the scheme was started in 2001 to 31 March this year 19,068 individuals (making up 12,187 adults and 7,462 youth) have been diverted, with 30,272 diversions arranged (20,227 adults and 10,045 youths), and 2,024 assessment sessions provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; of that—and this is unfortunately the best I can give you at this time—5,279 individuals, or 27 per cent, have received more than one diversion opportunity.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you. Are you able to take—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can also advise that 84.6 per cent of youth and 78.6 per cent of adults fulfilled the requirement of the diversion.
Mr GARDNER: And the requirement of the diversion is attendance, or is there another requirement in addition to turning up?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am advised there are two parts to it: first, attending and, secondly, any requirements established by the panel.
Mr GARDNER: The panel conducting the diversion or the panel that has referred the matter for diversion?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The Drug Assessment and Aid Panel.
Mr GARDNER: How many of those individuals you have identified who are diverted face that panel?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will need to get the exact figure for you, but what I can advise now is that 84.6 per cent of youth and 78.6 per cent of adults fulfil that requirement, but the other figures we will get for you.
Mr GARDNER: If you do not have the information now I would invite you to take it on notice, if that is convenient, but what is the number of those who have undertaken the program more than twice, and more than five times. A separate question, which is of a piece: what is the highest number of occasions that one person has participated in a diversion program?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I have to take that on notice; I will get that figure for you.
Mr GARDNER: Minister, can you outline the benefits of moral reconation therapy over other forms of treatment? Moral reconation therapy is the type of diversion treatment that is mandated to the NGO who delivers the diversion therapy.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Can you repeat that question, please?
Mr GARDNER: I am interested in the benefits of moral reconation therapy over other forms of therapy or drug treatment, such that it is required by the government of the provider of the diversion program.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: My understanding is that that advice is provided by Health, and Health would be the best people to ask.
Mr GARDNER: I will look forward to that opportunity. The same budget paper, in relation to the line below, expiation notices issued for cannabis offences. Again, it is a similar question to the one in relation to drug diversions. It is identified that the indicators are not now comparable based on a change to the counting rule. I assume it was the same date that the counting rule changed, and I assume it is the same years that are therefore incompatible.
Can you identify the nature of the change? Are there expiations happening that are not captured by this indicator or are we expiating a different category of people that we were not previously expiating? I am trying to understand on what basis, even if there has been a counting rule change, it would apply to this indicator in particular.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will take that on notice for you.
Mr GARDNER: As previously, can we get an update to 30 June rather than the estimated results?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Assuming that information is available, yes.
Mr GARDNER: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 139, the number of clandestine labs detected. In this one they do not identify a counting rule change. For the increase from 55 in 2012-13 to 86 in 2013-14 is there any analysis as to why this increase has taken place, which is quite significant?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise as follows: there have been 71 clandestine laboratories detected in the current financial year to the end of April 2014 compared to 55 clandestine laboratories for the last financial year. This is an increase of 16 laboratories to date. The most probable explanation for the increase is that SAPOL now includes what is referred to as a 'boxed lab' in counting methodology; that is, laboratories that include the presence of prescribed equipment, in other words, chemicals, glassware, etc., that is not currently operating. These labs continue to be a challenge for police, as they are often smaller and more readily transportable and found in car boot compartments and the like.
Mr GARDNER: So there has been another counting rule change.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: But we are actually counting more, in effect, now.
Mr GARDNER: That's right, but the point is that they were not being counted in 2012-13, so they are not apples and apples. I will move onto a different subject in relation to IT systems. I refer to Budget Paper 5, page 36. The police records management system I understand is perhaps better known as Project Shield. In the 2009-10 budget papers it was listed to be completed in June 2013. Stage 1 of Project Shield is now listed for completion in June 2015—this is police records management system for those reading. Is that item that is listed for completion in June 2015 that is rolling out now (stage 1)—what remains to be rolled out prior to that completion in June 2015?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Is your question post stage 1?
Mr GARDNER: This is just in relation to stage 1. My understanding from briefings is that it has largely actually already been rolled out—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, that is right.
Mr GARDNER: —but the budget papers identify June quarter 2015. What I am trying to establish is: is there anything left to do or is that just a very conservative completion date?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, it is just July. Unfortunately, it went over into July, so it has all been implemented as you were advised at your briefing. Stage 1 has been implemented by the end of July, but the reason it is in the accounts is because there will be payments made in July for the software. So, it is a timing issue, but you are quite right: your previous advice is the case.
Mr GARDNER: So the delay is not as bad as it would otherwise potentially look in the budget papers: it is not two years, it is closer to 13 months since it was initially announced in the budget for the 2009-10 year. I am wondering if the scope of the program has changed at all since it was initially announced?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will ask the people who have been working on it day to day to give you a more precise answer on that question.
Mr STEVENS: There is no change to scope for Shield. The delays were quite deliberate, based on the need for us to maintain our operational integrity around information systems during the bushfire season, and also for mad March, which has a considerable impact on our policing resources in an operational sense. The decision was made to actually suspend activity in terms of implementing Shield so that we could continue that process of operational policing, so it was quite a deliberate move.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you. I appreciate that transitioning from legacy systems to a new operating system can be sensitive. In regard to stages 2 and 4, the budget papers identify the remainder of the project to cost $29.4 million, with $5.7 million being expended this year and the whole project being completed in 2020. Are you able to provide a breakdown of when each stage is due to be implemented over the six-year period? How much is to be expended in each of those years?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Unfortunately, the figures we have here today are the cash flow—in other words, financial spec. If you want it stage by stage, we will get that information for you.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you. Can you identify what the cost of the licence fee is and what the other associated expenses break up as?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The anticipated software expenditure (which would include those fees) would be $5.42 million for the whole project. To date, during 2011-12, $136,000 was spent, in 2012-13, $610,000 was spent, and in 2014-15 we have just paid $786,000.
Mr GARDNER: So is that $5.2 million—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is $5.4 million.
Mr GARDNER: Sorry, $5.4 million—is that for stage 1 or is that for all stages 1 to 4?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, that is the whole program.
Mr GARDNER: Stages 1 to 4 combined are about $40 million and the licence fee is $5.4 million. The other $35 million is identified in the capital investment statement. I assume that it is staff-related, training or—
Mr PATRIARCA: The balance of the costs relate to our own internal costs, so we obviously have to put a lot of people on—you can just imagine the cost to train 4,500 operational police—so it is training and all the related costs including that we have to obviously train people right across the state. It includes contractors to implement the system and to do all the technical support for implementing the software.
We obviously have to transition the legacy systems; for example, the data held in the police Incident Management System has to be migrated across to the new system, and there is transferring data, persons of interest and all those sort of things. There is labour involved in supporting that, both internal support and also contractors.
Mr GARDNER: I understand that Shield is an off-the-shelf IT solution and it was chosen because it had positive reports in, I think, Canada and also Queensland. Was there a specific cost-benefit analysis done for this program?
Mr PATRIARCA: There was a business case done for replacement of the system, and the system was competitively tendered in the marketplace.
Mr GARDNER: Excellent. When will SAPOL be able to cease use of the legacy systems? You have identified that there will be costs in transferring data across from the legacy systems. What issues have you identified that may present concerns with that transfer of data, or are we are very confident that it will go smoothly?
Mr PATRIARCA: At this point in time we are confident it is going smoothly. For example, to implement the criminal intelligence component of stage I (which has just gone live in June), we had to transfer obviously all the known persons of interest and their warnings across to the system. That was, I think, in excess of 250,000 records. They were migrated across, and I guess we have not had any issues yet. I will not say we will not have any issues, because IT systems always have their challenges.
Mr GARDNER: In relation to Budget Paper 5, page 36 in a couple of the other identified areas, the Domestic Violence Legislation System Support is an 'Information technology system to process early intervention orders.' This system support is presumably the police intervention orders in particular. It is listed as $1 million to be concluded by June 2015. Is this a different system to that identified four years ago in the 2010-11 budget paper with exactly the same description and the same cost but with a completion date of June quarter 2011?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise the member as follows. The $1.003 million funding to which you referred for the domestic violence legislation system support was first provided to SAPOL in the 2010-11 financial year to develop a multi-agency solution to remedy operational and administrative inconsistencies and to develop operational efficiencies. The expenditure profile for this project to date is: 2010-11, $53,000; 2011-12, $380,000; 2012-13, $226,000; 2013-14, estimated at this stage, is $34,000, and the remaining $310,000 to be spent.
Project stages 1 and 2 are complete and have been implemented. In developing stage 3 IT requirements, SAPOL continues to work with the Courts Administration Authority and the Attorney-General's Department in agreeing the business rules and determining the IT specifications for the fully integrated system. That $310,000 is expected to be spent during the current financial year, 2014-15. I suppose the answer is: it is a part, yes.
Mr GARDNER: Is this the funding going towards part of the MAPS project?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, that is a separate one; that is separately funded.
Mr GARDNER: To be clear, we are talking about apples and apples. It is the same project and it is—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The MAPS is a separate project.
Mr GARDNER: Yes, certainly, but the item identified in this budget paper is the same as—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: In relation to the closed circuit television for custody management and the $8 million identified for completion this year, how long has that been in the system? Is that the same project that was originally due to be completed in June 2010 in the 2008 budget, or have we expanded the scope of that project? For example, was that, in fact, met in 2010 and we have just decided to roll it out further and buy more CCTV?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Of the $8.066 million you mentioned, of the original approval amount, $436,000 remains, which is proposed to be used to complete additional projects in Berri, Naracoorte and Oodnadatta.
Mr GARDNER: So, there are some additional projects? So, it has been expanding rather than delayed?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is a five-year plan to replace the existing arrangements, and the balance is those three I have mentioned.
Mr GARDNER: The budget papers identify $436,000 to be spent out of the $8 million.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: How far back do the expenditures go? You talk about a five-year plan. So, you are saying the first time this money was identified was in 2009-10 or 2010-11? My interest is because the 2008-09 budget papers identify $5½ million and say that it will be completed in June 2010. That was various metropolitan and regional locations; this one says 'various metropolitan and regional locations'. So, maybe if I can ask: are all locations now covered or are there some areas where there is custody management that does not have the CCTV?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: There are quite a few questions there.
Mr GARDNER: Certainly. Answer as many you like, and take the rest on notice if you like.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise that, through the Department of Treasury and Finance, SAPOL internally allocated $2.415 million of annual provision funds in 2007 and 2008. A further $5.651 million of state government funding was allocated to the program in May 2008, bringing the total figure to $8.066 million, and the remaining $436,000 has been spent to update Berri, Naracoorte and Oodnadatta.
Mr GARDNER: Going back to Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, page 147, expenses, general supplies and services are listed as $149.6 million, which is significantly up on the 2013-14 year and on the 2012-13 year. Is Project Shield the main source of this increase? What is the main source of the increase of some $16 million over two years?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Mr Patriarca will answer that question.
Mr PATRIARCA: The increase in general supplies and services covers indexation, the additional police resources we were given (they have the use of cars and those sorts of things), the continuation of road safety initiatives (the expansion of point-to-point and mid-blocks), and new initiative funding for crime-tracking apps, facial-recognition apps, etc. It is offset by efficiency dividend and obviously savings targets. They are the main reasons. There is also a deferral of operating expenditure relating to stage 1 of the police records system. We underspent against that budget and so we transferred that into 2014-15.
Mr GARDNER: I understand that accommodation is $31.1 million approximately (although it sounds like a fairly precise figure to me; it must have been supplied to me by somebody excellent). It is about 21 per cent of the cost, but can you break up what that cost of accommodation comprises? I realise it includes police stations, rental or other things, but can we get a breakdown, that is, a+b+c+d = $31.1 million?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We can provide an answer in part; the rest may have to be provided on notice.
Mr PATRIARCA: In relation to accommodation, we have a large number of leased facilities that police occupy, so there is a large component thereof, basically, rent for a considerable number of our police stations and corporate facilities. For example, police headquarters is a fully-leased facility, so that is where the large majority of expenditure is in that line.
Mr GARDNER: On page 127, in relation to the workforce summary, how many police Aboriginal liaison officer positions (I think they have been described as traditional community constables) are there on the APY lands?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise that SAPOL has 19 sworn police members permanently stationed on the APY lands within the communities of Amata, Ernabella, Mimili, Murputja and Umuwa. In addition, there are three further sworn police officer members who are currently based on the APY lands, at Umuwa, to provide additional temporary and investigative ability. There are also 10 allocated traditional community constables, which I think are the ones you are referring to.
Mr GARDNER: That is correct.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, there are 10 allocated traditional community constable positions on the APY lands but, despite continued efforts by SAPOL to fill all 10 positions, unfortunately only three are currently filled, but there are positions for 10.
Mr GARDNER: Are they the same three constables who were filling those roles this time last year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will have to confirm that for you. I will take it on notice.
Mr GARDNER: Can you provide us with an update on the level of night patrols being undertaken on the APY lands?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: What I can advise is that police on the APY lands continue to be actively engaged in various programs, including Amata and Mimili night patrol strategies. They are the two communities which have that in place at the moment.
Mr GARDNER: I understand that Amata was a six-month trial and that the trial commenced on 29 February 2012, and night patrols commenced at Mimili in October 2012. I would appreciate if it is at all possible for you check if those night patrols at either location are ongoing.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: While the strategies are managed by community coordinators, SAPOL currently provides support and coordination for the night patrol initiative. SAPOL has indicated its intention to withdraw from management of the night patrol strategy from 30 June 2014 and an alternative management model is currently being considered by the APY Lands Steering Committee.
Mr GARDNER: Given that SAPOL still had management until 30 June this year, are you able to identify how many night patrols were undertaken during the previous financial year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will have to take that on notice for you.
Mr GARDNER: I suspect that, if active consideration is being given to a new management model, we will just have to wait, won't we? In relation to Budget Paper 4, volume 3, page 140, criminal justice, how many cost orders were made against SAPOL in the 2013-14 year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We do not actually have the figure here. I will have to take that on notice for you.
Mr GARDNER: In doing so, perhaps could you find the total amount ordered to be paid.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Sure.
Mr GARDNER: On Budget Paper 4, volume 3, page 136 (it is fairly general on crime), could you provide the number of firearms reported by the registered owner as lost for the 2013-14 financial year, and also those stolen, which would be a separate number?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I could give you information about what the new licences are, brand-new licences, etc., a whole breakdown of that, but I will have to take that one on notice.
Mr GARDNER: Can you identify how many illegal firearms were seized by SAPOL in the 2013-14 financial year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Again, we will have to take that on notice.
Mr GARDNER: I am on page 127, workforce, but I would not look in too much detail—it is only in the most general sense. How many National Police Certificate applications were processed in the last two financial years? I am also interested, if you are looking, in how many were processed with a volunteer organisation authorisation number.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Unfortunately, we only have a general number. We will get an exact figure for you for both those matters.
Mr GARDNER: In Budget Paper 4, volume 3, page 132, activity indicators, the number of patrol taskings in the metropolitan area indicator shows that the 2012-13 actual was 400,642 and the estimated result in 2013-14 was 382,705, a decrease of 17,973 or thereabouts, given that it is an estimated result. What is the cause of the 5 per cent decrease?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The deputy commissioner will provide an answer to that.
Mr STEVENS: Thank you. We do not have specific information about the cause for the decrease, but the nature of the function is that we simply estimate based on previous year’s activity, and there are fluctuations which relate directly to the incidence of crime and calls for assistance.
Mr GARDNER: Okay; that sounds like good news, then, so bravo. On page 134, I know that there has been a change to the counting rule for grade 1 taskings in the metropolitan area which occurred in January 2014; this coincides with the 196 tasking increase. Can you advise what the nature of the change is, and whether that figure is meaningful relative to the 2012-13 figure?
Mr STEVENS: The nature of the change was that we refined the types of incidents that were classified as grade 1, because we had—I do not recall specifically the nature of the change, but there was one particular category of activity which was creating an unrealistic impression in terms of the number of grade 1 taskings we were responding to. I believe it may have had a relationship with attending vehicle collisions. They were reclassified as grade 2 taskings, and grade 1 was for those most serious of events which required an emergency response by police.
The CHAIR: Any more questions, member for Morialta?
Mr GARDNER: Well, many, but perhaps I could—
The CHAIR: Make your final one?
Mr GARDNER: —make a final one, and I will make it something the minister will find easy to take on notice. On pages 131 to 134, 138, 139, 141, 144 and 146 of Budget Paper 4, Volume 3, all of those pages have either performance indicators and/or activity indicators for which an estimated result is provided for the 2013-14 financial year. Could we possibly have the actual end-of-year results for those indicators as at 30 June 2014, where it is available?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Assuming Hansard got those figures down, yes.
Mr GARDNER: Yes, I will give them a sheet. Thank you very much, especially to your officers, and everyone in the police, for whom we have the highest of respect. We appreciate the danger in which they place themselves, and as somebody who has sat with family members of police officers when they have been hearing radio reports of shootings, and waiting to get the call to make sure that their loved one was safe, I have every respect for the work that you and very much appreciate the role that you play