Concern over NT booze cops
The people tasked with monitoring alcohol sales in the NT will be given guns, tasers and just 12 weeks of training.
Seventy-five new police auxiliaries are being trained as liquor inspectors to be stationed outside bottle shops, and NT Police have confirmed they will be armed and potentially required to work alone, despite having less than half the training time of fully-fledged officers.
Reports say they will not be given the full powers of the police, but will instead be limited to checking identification and detaining people who are in breach of the Liquor Act.
Auxiliary police used to work primarily in communication and administration, but some have seen their roles moved to the frontline since a sweeping review of the Northern Territory's alcohol policy.
“At the moment it is our understanding that they'll be deployed just on their own, which is not acceptable in our view and we will be talking to the commissioner about that exact issue,” NT Police Association president Paul McCue said.
Mr McCue has travelled to meet with about 20 staff being trained for the new roles.
“At this stage [pay and conditions] are still being determined,” Mr McCue said.
“It's disappointing we haven't finalised all those details before the training commenced of course, but we are working through those details with government as we speak.
“It's a ludicrous situation and something that should have been finalised.”
Criminal Lawyers Association president Marty Aust said there were some significant safety concerns.
He said fully qualified police have been shown to misunderstand and unlawfully use their powers, let alone auxiliary officers.
“Now what we're doing is placing those powers in the hands of inexperienced, under-qualified auxiliaries who are expected to do a job which is difficult enough for fully trained long-serving police officers,” he said.
“It appears they will have a third of the training of rookie constables and they'll be standing out the front... interacting with possibly vulnerable, intoxicated or difficult persons.”
“A fully trained police officer on a bottle shop is a Band Aid on a gaping wound.
“An under-qualified inexperienced auxiliary is half a Band Aid on a gaping wound.”