Australian Institute of Criminology

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Criminal justice resources

  • ISBN 978 1 921185 30 4 ; ISSN 1832-228X
  • Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2007

Justice expenditure

According to the Report on government services 2006 (Reference 23) the total real recurrent expenditure (less revenue from own sources) on justice in 2004-05 was approximately $8.3 billion. Of this approximately $7.9 billion was spent on criminal justice. The remaining $470 million was spent on the administration of civil courts. Since 2000-01, expenditure on criminal justice has increased by 16% overall and by an average of 4% each year.

Police services represent the largest component of the criminal justice system, accounting for approximately 72% of total expenditure. Corrective services account for a further 22%, while criminal courts administration accounts for the remaining 6%.

Figure 98 : Composition of government expenditure on criminal justice, 2004-05

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Police

Policing activities are predominantly the responsibility of the police agencies of state and territory governments, with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) providing a community policing service in the ACT on behalf of the ACT Government. Funding for these services comes almost exclusively from state and territory government budgets, with some specific purpose grants provided by the Australian Government.

The figures below exclude resource data for the AFP for non-ACT policing functions.

Expenditure

The total recurrent expenditure on police services across Australia in 2004-05 was approximately $5.9 billion. This amounts to $289 for every person in Australia, or $379 per adult. Salaries accounted for 72% of this expenditure.

Real total recurrent expenditure (less revenue from own sources and payroll tax) in 2004-05 was $5.5 billion, or $280 for every person or $354 per adult.

Table 10 : Expenditure on state and territory police services, 2004-05
Expenditure($'000)
Total recurrent expenditure5,874.9
Total capital expenditure359.6
Total expenditure6,234.5
Staff salaries($)
Average police staff salaries84,379
Average non-police staff salaries55,469

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 99 : Recurrent expenditure on state and territory police services per head of adult population, 2004-05

  • Recurrent expenditure on police services per head of adult population ranged from about $345 in Victoria to $1,107 in the Northern Territory.

Sources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002-2005. Population by age and sex, Australian states and territories (various issues). ABS cat. no. 3201.0. Canberra: ABS
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Staffing

Most people involved directly in the delivery of police services are sworn police officers (employees recognised under each jurisdiction's policing legislation). Sworn officers exercise police powers such as arrest, summons, caution, detain, fingerprint and search.

In recent years there has been a trend towards civilianisation of police services, with some non-core activities undertaken by unsworn officers or contracted to external providers.

  • The total police services staffing in Australia (excluding the AFP) on 30 June 2005 was 58,167. This averages 286 per 100,000 persons (222 sworn police officers and 64 civilian employees).
  • There were 45,201 sworn police officers and 12,966 civilian employees making up Australian police services in 2005.

Sources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002-2005. Population by age and sex, Australian states and territories (various issues). ABS cat. no. 3201.0. Canberra: ABS
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission
Table 11 : Composition of state and territory police services by jurisdiction, 30 June 2005a
JurisdictionSworn police officersCivilianTotalSworn officers per 1,000 sq km
a: Excludes AFP for non-ACT policing
NSW14,6433,86018,50323
Vic10,4462,58913,03557
Qld8,7653,18511,9507
SA3,8011,0604,8615
WA4,8901,2826,1722
Tas1,1343701,50422
NT9164241,3401
ACT606196802341
Australia45,20112,96658,1678
  • New South Wales had the largest police service in Australia, while the ACT had the smallest.
  • The Northern Territory and Queensland employed the largest proportion of civilian staff (32% and 27% respectively), and Victoria and Western Australia employed the smallest (20% each).

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission
Table 12 : Selected Commonwealth law enforcement agency personnel, by gender, 30 June 2005a
AgencyMaleFemaleTotal
a: Includes full time, part time and casual staff
b: Excludes ACT Policing and APS personnel
ACC: Australian Crime Commission
ACS: Australian Customs Service
APS: Australian Protective Service
AFPb1,7501,0842,834
Sworn1,2904121,702
Unsworn4606721,132
ACC230190420
ACS3,0701,9855,055
APS1,2061831,389
CrimTrac312152
Total6,2873,4639,750
  • More than half of Commonwealth law enforcement personnel are employed by the Australian Customs Service (52%), with another 30% in the AFP and 14% in the Australian Protective Service.
  • Males represented between 55% and 61% of personnel in each agency except the APS where they comprised 87% of all personnel.
  • On 30 June 2005, 60% of AFP staff were sworn officers of whom 76% were male. Females made up 60% of civilian staff in the AFP.

Sources:

  • Unpublished data supplied by AFP
  • Australian Crime Commission 2005. Annual report 2004-2005. Canberra: ACC
  • Australian Customs Service 2005. Annual report 2004-2005. Canberra: ACS
  • CrimTrac 2005. Annual report 2004-2005. Canberra: CrimTrac

Figure 100 : Sworn police officers, by jurisdiction, 30 June 2004 and 30 June 2005 (rate per 100,000 persons)

  • With the exception of the Northern Territory, there is little difference across jurisdictions in the number of sworn police officers per 100,000 population.
  • On 30 June 2005 the Northern Territory had the largest number of police officers per 100,000 population (452), while the ACT had the smallest (186). However, the ACT had 341 police officers per 1,000 square km, while the Northern Territory had only one.

Sources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002-2005. Population by age and sex, Australian states and territories (various issues). ABS cat. no. 3201.0. Canberra: ABS
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 101 : Sworn and unsworn police by gender, 1998-2005 (percent)

  • Between 1998 and 2005 there has been a slight increase in the percentage of female police staff (sworn and unsworn) from 26% to 30%.

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Court administration

Total recurrent expenditure on court administration services across Australia (excluding the High Court) was $1.2 billion in 2004-05, approximately the same as in 2003-04. Expenditure for criminal courts administration was about $493 million for 2004-05, an increase from $454 million the previous year.

Total criminal court expenditure less income (excluding fines) was $477 million. This amounts to $23 for every person in Australia, or $31 per adult.

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 102 : Total expenditure (less income) for criminal courts, 2004-05

  • Magistrates courts incurred 54% of total criminal court expenditure in 2004-05, compared with 56% in 2003-04.
  • Intermediate courts incurred 32% (30% in the previous year) and supreme courts were the same as in 2003-04, at 14%.

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 103 shows the average expenditure per case lodgment in the criminal courts. The higher the level of court, the higher the cost associated with each criminal case lodgment. This is because more complex and lengthy cases are typically heard in the higher courts.

Figure 103 : Average expenditure per criminal case lodgment, 2004-05

  • In 2004-05, average expenditure per criminal case lodgment was $351 in magistrates courts, $5,499 in intermediate courts and $12,271 in supreme courts. This expenditure is approximately the same as in the previous year.

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Adult corrective services

Resources allocated for corrective services in Australia are divided into two broad categories: prisons and community corrections.

Total net expenditure on corrective services in Australia was approximately $2 billion in 2004-05: $1.7 billion (85%) for prisons, $222 million (11%) for community corrections and $72 million (4%) for transport and escort services. This corresponds to $98 for every person in Australia or $128 for every adult.

Sources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002-2005. Population by age and sex, Australian states and territories (various issues). ABS cat. no. 3201.0. Canberra: ABS
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 104 : Recurrent expenditure on corrective services per head of adult population, 2004-05 ($)

  • Recurrent expenditure on corrective services per head of adult population ranged from $88 in Victoria and $95 in Tasmania to $377 in the Northern Territory.

Sources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002-2005. Population by age and sex, Australian states and territories (various issues). ABS cat. no. 3201.0. Canberra: ABS
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission

Figure 105 : Corrective services expenditure per offender per day, by jurisdiction 2004-05 ($)

a: Includes both remand prisoners in ACT and sentenced prisoners in NSW

  • Average expenditure per prisoner per day was $170, ranging from $145 in Queensland to $252 in the ACT.
  • Expenditure per offender sentenced to community corrections programs per day was $10. The cost for offenders sentenced to prison was 17 times greater, at $170 per day.
  • Overall in 2004-05, $62,087 was spent for every prisoner and $3,796 for each offender sentenced to community corrections programs.

Source:

  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2006. Report on government services, volume 1: education, justice, emergency management. Melbourne: Productivity Commission