Top cop gets another five years

Top cop gets another five years

Police & Courts

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The state’s top cop, Grant Stevens, is set to be reappointed as police commissioner for another five years.

The Advertiser can reveal Premier Peter Malinauskas has agreed to extend Mr Steven’s contract following discussions over his future.

It is understood Mr Stevens, whose existing contract runs out in July, is now in discussions with Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Erma Ranieri over the terms of his new contract.

Once those details have been finalised Mr Steven’s new contract will go before Cabinet for approval, but this is expected to be a formality.

Mr Stevens, 59, was appointed police commissioner in 2015 following the retirement of then commissioner Gary Burns. He had been deputy commissioner since 2012.

In early 2020 then Premier Steven Marshall reappointed Mr Steven’s for another three years as the state was in the midst of battling the Covid-19 pandemic. His current contract sees him paid a package of almost $550,000 annually.

In his role as state co-ordinator, Mr Stevens had legislated authority to implement the state’s response to the virus, which included many unpopular measures and drastic restrictions to stop its spread through the community.

Most recently Mr Steven’s oversaw the flood crisis that engulfed thousands of properties along the Murray River, once again invoking many restrictions on river use using his powers as state co-ordinator.

Mr Stevens, a 41-year veteran who has worked in almost every operational area of SAPOL as a uniformed officer, Detective and commissioned officer, also has considerable experience in counter terrorism and emergency management, community programs, drug and alcohol management and human resource management and policy.

As a senior Detective, he spearheaded SAPOL’s response to child sexual abuse when the Paedophile Task Force was established in 2004 and prior to his appointment in 2015 had been driving the police response to preventing and investigating domestic violence in the community.

Since his appointment Mr Stevens has implemented several major reforms including a 50: 50 recruitment policy and restructured SAPOL’s policing model – a move that has attracted criticism from rank-and-file officers because of its resource intensive requirements.

Mr Steven’s is currently facing a major resourcing crisis, with The Advertiser a fortnight ago revealing the number of officers leaving SAPOL was now double the rate new officers being recruited – exacerbating the already significant shortfall of frontline police.

His reappointment for another five years will ensure he is among the longest serving police commissioners to serve the state. Former commissioner Mal Hyde completed 15 years and his predecessor David Hunt completed 13 years. SA’s longest serving police commissioner was Sir Raymond Leane who had the top job for 24 years between 1920 and 1944.

Both Mr Malinauskas and Mr Stevens declined to comment on their discussions when contacted on Friday.

However, when reappointed in April 2020 Mr Stevens said his role as state co-ordinator overseeing the response to the pandemic was the biggest challenge he had faced during his five years as commissioner.

“I don’t think I could think of anything that has presented a bigger challenge, there is no playbook for this,” he said at the time.

“We have had challenges, such as changing the culture of the organisation in terms of sexual discrimination and restructuring programs, but nothing like this.”

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