The number of people arrested in Australia has been on a steady decline for a decade and is down to its lowest level in 25 years.
But that’s not stopping people from filing a slew of criminal complaints and trying to get justice.ABC News has learned the numbers are falling in some states and some counties and there’s concern the trend is only going to get worse.
It is difficult to determine exactly how many people are currently facing charges in the country, but in some areas the decline is not apparent.ABC law and criminal investigations reporter Ben Wright has compiled the top 20 jurisdictions with the highest number of reported charges.
In NSW, the top 10 per cent of cases reported to police is now a record low.
In Victoria, the number of arrests in the state’s largest city of Melbourne is now the lowest it has been in a decade.
And in Tasmania, it has dropped below 1,000.
It’s a trend that has sparked concern from police, with many saying they don’t know where the problem lies and how to tackle it.
“We are in a period of very, very high police demand, with increased police workloads and we’ve had a significant number of those charges come to us,” said Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Greg Taylor.
“In a few years time it will be very hard for us to do the job and we’ll have to work hard to do it.”
In Victoria’s Central Coast, the figures are particularly concerning.
“The number of cases has fallen by 10 per week in the last year or so,” said Detective Sergeant Stephen Jones.
“There have been about 500 arrests this year alone.”
So that’s a big drop.
“The number is down from a high of 2,898 last year.
The problem is compounded by the fact people can’t get police assistance to get their charges dropped or dropped for a variety of reasons, such as their inability to pay a fine or other reasons.”
I think the police are concerned that the public are being misled by people trying to make a buck out of their arrest,” Mr Jones said.”
But the police can’t make any money out of it.
“The police say they are working to get more staff in the field and to ensure the public has access to legal aid.
But some people have been deterred from going to court.”
When you see the police, they are always saying ‘just tell us what you want and we will help you’,” said Ms Davis.”
People don’t really understand that it’s not going to happen.
They’re going to do whatever they want.
“Ms Davis said she has been able to get her charges dropped for free.”
If I’m arrested, I have no way to get my charges dropped, and that’s where the concern is,” she said.
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