Annual crime figures released by Tasmania Police yesterday demonstrate the Liberals’ lopsided focus on law and order, and failure to invest in early intervention and rehabilitation, has made Tasmania a less safe place to live.

Both serious crimes and property offences have risen 10.6% in the last year, with overall crimes rising by 9.4%. This is not a “cyclical” artefact, nor is it a result of having more police on the beat.

This is a reality check that the Liberals’ punitive approach is creating a criminal underclass and leading to more crime. Their attempt to spin the annual crime figures as ‘a reminder of the need to be tough on crime’ is cynical and politically motivated.

Since the last election, the Liberals have cut reintegration services for ex-offenders, and seriously underfunded drug treatment programs and regional community and mental health services.

The major report released last week by the Institute of Public Affairs concluded the “tough on crime” approach is a failure, and governments should instead focus on reform. 

The Liberals have consistently failed to take notice of ex- magistrates, police commissioners, criminal experts and the community, but you’d expect them to listen to the deeply conservative think tank.

If the Liberals truly want to make Tasmania a safer place to live, they must stop playing politics and invest in early intervention, rehabilitation, and move towards the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.