Review provides road map to improving policing in the Territory

NT Government

A major review into policing in the Northern Territory has been released by the Territory Government to ensure better support and resourcing to frontline officers.

The review, led by Vince Kelly and involving extensive consultation, reflects the Territory Government’s commitment to providing more support and resources to the Police Force so they can be more responsive to the community.

The Police Review shows there needs to be major investments in the Northern Territory Police Force over the coming years and it shows that the organisation structure needs to reform to deliver better results for serving officers.

The Review provides a road map and clear directions about what needs to happen to get an improved and more responsive Northern Territory Police Force.

The community expects that police will have sufficient resources to be highly visible on our streets and play a greater role in crime prevention.

In response to the review, the Territory Government has accepted 15 of the 18 key recommendations in full and one in principle from the NT Police Review, designed to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness of the Northern Territory Police Force.

Accepting these recommendations will come at significant cost and we will see unprecedented resources provided to the Northern Territory Police Force.

The Territory Government does not accept the recommendation to reduce Police Auxiliary – PALI – coverage on bottle shops in the Territory and does not accept the recommendation to discontinue using private security services in relation to reducing anti-social behaviour.

The final recommendation that has been noted but not accepted by my Government is in relation to using private companies to transport prisoners.

To view the report visit: here

Quotes to attribute to Chief Minister, Eva Lawler:

“Nothing is more important to me than keeping Territorians safe – and that’s why my Government has carefully considered this report and will accept and implement the majority of recommendations.

“We will invest more in the Northern Territory Police Force than ever before – and that means more officers, better technology, extra equipment and new strategies to improve retention rates for our current serving officers.

“I personally want to thank all members of the Northern Territory Police Force. You do an incredibly difficult job under immense pressure. I value your work and I will provide the resources and support you need to do the job.”

Quotes attributed to the Minister for Police, Brent Potter:

“Our Police do an amazing job every day.

“This Police Review highlights we need to do more to support our Police. To do this we will make sure there is comprehensive and common sense plan to lower crime – and that’s what we are focussed on delivering.

“We will make sure Police have the tools they need to do their job and feel supported while doing it.”



1. It is recommended that an Executive Contract Officer 4 position, reporting to the Commissioner of Police as Deputy Chief Executive (Organisational Services) or similar, be established within NTPF to develop and implement a corporate, governance and organisational support functionality that enables and facilitates the agency to achieve its corporate goals. With the assistance of the Chief Executive of the Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet (CMC), a suitable candidate should be seconded from within the Northern Territory Public Sector for an initial period of 2 years, with responsibility for areas as outlined in Figure 1.1 and funded additionally to the NTPF base budget.

Recommendation accepted.

2. It is recommended that a Police Review Implementation Team (PRIT) be established under the direction of the Commissioner of Police through the Deputy Chief Executive role outlined in Recommendation 1, to coordinate, monitor and evaluate government’s response to the recommendations of the Review. The Police Review Implementation Team should be funded additionally to the NTPF base budget to 30 June 2025. The Commissioner should report on a quarterly basis to the Budget Review Subcommittee of Cabinet, or similar, as determined by government.

Recommendation accepted.

3. It is recommended government develops a long-term rolling capital works program to replace, upgrade or provide new remote police infrastructure across the NT, including a program of up to 2 new stations a year for 4 years (total $160 million) and up to 40 new or upgraded dwellings over 4 years (total $32 million) for the current budget cycle (2024-25 to 2027-28).

Recommendation accepted in principle.

4. It is recommended that NTPF formalises the establishment of the Digital Transformation Unit to centrally manage high impact/high value ICT projects. The unit should also be resourced to provide ongoing workforce and business support for major systems (for example SerPro), including workforce training and data quality functions related to the use of such systems.

Recommendation accepted.

5. It is recommended an adequate and appropriate data and business intelligence capability is established in NTPF to address data deficiencies identified during the Review. This includes developing and implementing a Data Governance Framework and Road Map as a priority for the organisation.

Recommendation accepted.

6. It is recommended NTPF develops and implements a Resource Allocation Model to inform resource allocation decisions, to be in place for 1 July 2025, with an initial staffing baseline review and implementation plan completed by October 2024.

Recommendation accepted.

7. It is recommended that an additional 200 sworn staff in the sworn cohort ranks of Constable and/or above to be recruited over a 4-year period. The following allocations are recommended:

• 120 officers to general duties in the Greater Darwin and Katherine region, and to remote stations (ensuring a minimum of 3 police members per remote station)

• 20 officers to Police College

• 10 officers to JESCC

• 10 officers to Territory Response Group

• 10 officers to Professional Standards Command

• 10 officers to Crime Command

• 10 officers to Technical and Covert Operations and Territory Intelligence Division

• 6 officers to Forensic Science Branch

• 4 officers to Digital Transformation Unit.

Recommendation accepted.

8. It is recommended that an additional 71 non-sworn staff are recruited over a 4-year period to support the specialist, business and corporate areas of NTPF, comprising:

• 47FTE for operational support roles as follows:

– JESCC – 25FTE call takers and CCTV operators

– Police College – 10FTE for course administration and online learning technical support

– Forensic Science Branch – 6FTE scientists

– Technical and Covert Operations – 1FTE senior technical communications specialist

– frontline administration support officers pilot program – 5FTE for administrative aspects of general duties reporting

– 24FTE or corporate support roles in areas such as legal, infrastructure, finance, digital and innovation, communications and electronic technical services.

Recommendation accepted.

9. It is recommended that the proposed upgrade of the Joint Emergency Services Communications Centre (JESCC), including its staffing, technological and physical infrastructure, be considered a high priority for funding as part of this Review.

Recommendation accepted.

10. It is recommended that the Police Review Implementation Team, in conjunction with NT Corrections, work towards transitioning responsibility for transfers of persons remanded in custody and police custody (bail refused) to an appropriate service provider (private) by 30 June 2025.

Recommendation noted and not accepted at this time.

11. It is recommended that point of sale intervention (POSI) services provided by NTPF be discontinued in their current form, and responsibility for ensuring compliance with liquor legislation and the provision of security services in bottle shops be undertaken by individual licensees/nominees and incorporated into relevant licence conditions. The ‘flexible’ POSI service introduced on 6 March 2024 should continue where possible until 30 June 2025 and all Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector positions be transitioned to Constables or Frontline Auxiliaries as appropriate by that date.

Recommendation not accepted.

12. It is recommended that the utilisation of private security services to provide social order capability be discontinued by 30 June 2025 and funding should be transitioned to the newly created Territory Safety Division to ensure NTPF as a publicly accountable agency can provide appropriate coordinated responses to social order issues.

Recommendation noted and not accepted at this time.

13. It is recommended that a working group comprising an independent Chair, Police Review Implementation Team nominee, and representatives of NTPF, the NT Police Association, and the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment be established to review and implement any agreed changes through appropriate policy or industrial mechanisms to resolve identified challenges in the following areas:

• current personal leave usage and management

• current housing entitlements in the greater Darwin area

• remote area incentives, tenure options and alternative staffing models.

Recommendation accepted.

14. It is recommended that the Police Administration Act 1978 Part II Division 3 be amended to enable the Commissioner of Police to appoint a person with appropriate skills, knowledge and experience, including policing, to a rank other than Constable in NTPF.

Recommendation accepted.

15. It is recommended that the Aboriginal Liaison Officer program continues to be prioritised and recognised, and more clearly defined as a critical and foundational liaison service working to support operational policing at the community level, with a focus on greater coverage of regional and remote communities.

Recommendation accepted.

16. It is recommended that the review of the Aboriginal Community Police Officer (ACPO) rank required pursuant to Section 79 (c) of the Police Consent Agreement 2022 be commenced immediately and include consideration of:

• the merits of continuing the scheme in its current form

• a priority transition process for all ACPOs to Constable

• if the scheme is to continue, a clear and unambiguous policy statement on the role of the ACPO in the NTPF.

Recommendation accepted.

17. The Review supports the stated intent of the Commissioner to develop and implement a modern people management framework and recommends that Part IV, Part V and other relevant parts of the Police Administration Act 1978 or other acts that support and underpin this intent be amended by 30 June 2025. These amendments must incorporate the following principles:

• simplicity and expediency – easily understood consistency of approach, flexible application, and timely resolution commensurate with the nature of the issue

• minimum formality – to achieve the organisational objectives and avoid highly formalised systems that feature legal/procedural technicalities and workarounds resulting in delay, a physical and mental impact on the parties, and failure to realise a causal link between conduct and resulting action

• management empowerment – managers at all levels of the organisation need to be educated, supported, and empowered to apply techniques to improve staff under their control. Managers should also be accountable for improving staff performance and acting swiftly to correct improper behaviour before it increases in severity or permeates the positive culture of a workplace. This principle shifts from direct line management as the improper behaviour or repeated underperformance increases along the spectrum and greater independence is required

• procedural fairness – to the employee and the employer and consistently applied throughout the organisation consistent with the principles of natural justice, particularly where termination of employment is a potential outcome

• a focus on education and awareness of ethical behaviour across NTPF.

Recommendation accepted.

18. It is recommended that the NTPF’s commitment to wellbeing is strengthened to include programs and executive leadership that:

• support mental wellbeing, through the Wellbeing Strategy 2023-2027

• foster a culture to reduce the stigma of mental health issues, and ensure a proactive approach to welfare checks and critical incident debriefing

• provide a safe and inclusive work environment, minimising physical and psychological risks by maintaining a strong focus on work health and safety, including addressing workplace hazards wherever possible

• promote cultural responsiveness and cultural safety support

• enable a healthy work-life balance, including implementing a fatigue management policy.

Further, it is recommended that an Implementation Plan for the Wellbeing Strategy 2023-2027 be published on the staff intranet by 31 May 2024 including performance measures and a framework for regular reporting of results within each year as well as progress achieved over the strategy timeframe (that is over the 4 years).

Recommendation accepted.

Northern Territory Government

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