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Disability Plan - Introduction

This section contains background information about the South Australia Police Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) 2020-2024.

Message from the Commissioner

head and shoulder shot of Police Commissioner Grant Stevens

South Australia Police (SAPOL) has a firm and trusted reputation for keeping the people of South Australia safe. This reputation is, in part, a result of the positive relationship the organisation holds with the community we serve. This is not to say we can rest on this reputation or that we have always ‘got it right’. Recognising we can do and be better, we know we must continue to push against misconceptions and biases that exclude or devalue people from diverse backgrounds, including people with disability.

Supporting the State Disability Inclusion Plan, the SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020-2024 provides a framework and direction for the further development of policy, programs, systems and practices that will increase our inclusiveness of people with disability and enhance the way we think and go about our business.

Our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan gives impetus to move forward from ensuring employee general awareness about disability to delivering inclusive policing services with both confidence and competence, achieved through different levels of learning and engagement with people with disability. The plan also provides the basis for greater representation in our workforce of people with disability.

In addition, it establishes a baseline for thinking differently about our use of technology to enable better communication with people with disability, particularly on the frontline. There is also a critical recognition in the plan that as a police service we must do our best to safeguard the most vulnerable in our community, in this case by establishing information flow with the disability sector that promotes wellbeing and supports the prevention and investigation of crime.

I am pleased to be able to present the SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan to both the SAPOL and wider South Australian communities.

Whether you are an employee or volunteer with SAPOL, or you are someone from the wider South Australian community wanting to know what we intend to do, I ask you to embrace the actions and objectives of this plan. If we do this, SAPOL will be more able to work effectively with and keep the community of South Australia safe.

Signature of Commissioner of Police Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens
Commissioner
South Australia Police

Acknowledgement of Country

South Australia Police acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations, and recognises their traditional relationship with Country.

We acknowledge that the spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices of Aboriginal people come from their traditional lands and waters, and that the cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws are still of importance today.

South Australian Government commitment to disability inclusion

The Government of South Australia has committed to greater inclusivity of people with disability. This commitment is reflected in the objects and principles of the Disability Inclusion Act (2018) SA which provides a framework in support of a whole of government approach to improving inclusion of people with disability in all areas of life as well as leading to the development of South Australia’s first state-wide plan, Inclusive SA: State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019-2023. The Act also requires government agencies to develop disability access and inclusion plans and report progress and outcomes of these plans to parliament.

The state and agency plans support South Australia’s implementation of the National Disability Strategy. Plans are also flexible in their design and implementation to enable a responsive outlook to changing priorities and new information.

About South Australia Police

SAPOL is the sole provider of policing services to the state of South Australia. From the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in the state’s far north, the Limestone Coast in the south, Riverland to the east, Ceduna and Yalata lands in the far west, and the state’s many other regions, towns and communities, SAPOL protects and serves the 1.7 million diverse citizens and the many people who visit South Australia for work and pleasure.

Our commitment to disability access and inclusion

SAPOL is committed to providing accessible and inclusive information, services and facilities for people with disability. This commitment is reflected in the actions outlined in this plan, which extend work and activity already undertaken, and systems, programs and amenities now in place:

  • We reviewed and updated our disability awareness training program with all sworn and public sector employees undertaking the updated training. All new employees also undertake this training. We also reviewed other training programs to ensure relevant inclusion of disability awareness.
  • We introduced new and expanded options and encouraged employees to take up flexible work arrangements, supporting both those with disability and carers.
  • We introduced Mental Health First Aid training, continued with our Employee Assistance Program, launched our ‘My Health, My Wellbeing’ website and initiated a physical reconditioning program.
  • We engaged people with disability in a skills development program and found individual people with disability employment with SAPOL and other organisations.
  • We upgraded a number of police station front counters to be more accessible for people with physical disability.
  • We worked across justice agencies to develop and implement legislation and practice that better meet the needs of vulnerable victims and witnesses, and the needs of suspects with complex communication needs.
  • We established the SAPOL Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group. This group includes a senior person who works in the disability sector. Meeting quarterly, the group provides strategic advice to SAPOL executive.
  • We established a new Diversity and Inclusion Branch. This branch carries a number of responsibilities including development and delivery of disability policy and training, and managing incidents of disability discrimination.

Our service delivery focus is aligned with various legislative requirements and internal strategies and plans including:

  • Disability Discrimination Act (1992) Cwlth
  • Disability Inclusion Act (2018) SA
  • Equal Opportunity Act (1984) SA
  • SAPOL Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2020-2025
  • SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020-2024.

Disability and disability discrimination

The Disability Inclusion Act (2018) SA defines disability in relation to a person as including long-term physical, psycho-social, intellectual, cognitive, neurological or sensory impairment, or a combination of any of these impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder the person’s full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) Cwlth defines disability in relation to a person as:

a) total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or

b) total or partial loss of a part of the body; or

c) the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or

d) the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or

e) the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or

f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or

g) a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;

and includes a disability that:

h) presently exists; or

i) previously existed but no longer exists; or

j) may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or

k) is imputed to a person.

To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.

Under Commonwealth legislation (Disability Discrimination Act 1992) and SA legislation (Equal Opportunity Act 1984) it is against the law to discriminate against someone based on their disability. Disability discrimination happens when people with disability are treated less fairly than people without disability. It also occurs when people are treated less fairly because they are relatives, friends, carers, co-workers or associates of people with disability.

Management and oversight

Responsibility for management of outcomes of SAPOL’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan rests with Diversity and Inclusion Branch.

A Disability Access and Inclusion Plan Steering Group has been established by Diversity and Inclusion Branch. Meeting regularly, the steering group engages with stakeholders in the allocation of actions to meet required outcomes within the specified timeframes.

Contact

This Disability Access and Inclusion Plan is available on the SAPOL website at www.police.sa.gov.au in full, easy read and HTML formats. If you require a copy in an alternative format or you wish to connect with SAPOL for any other reason regarding this plan, please contact the SAPOL Diversity and Inclusion Branch via sapol.diversityandinclusion@police.sa.gov.au.

Actions

The SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020-2024 is aligned with Inclusive SA: State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019-2023 (Inclusive SA). There are four themes and 12 priorities in the State Disability Inclusion Plan. SAPOL is establishing 12 actions centred on these themes and priorities.

The Disability Inclusion Act (2018) SA establishes a set of objects and principles, highlighting the specific needs of four priority groups:

  • women with disability;
  • children with disability;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability; and
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with disability.

The SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan gives effect to the objects and principles of the Act by aligning with the structure of Inclusive SA, responding to the feedback and submissions received from the South Australian community during the development of the plan, and by ensuring people with disability have an ongoing voice in the development and delivery of SAPOL services. The actions and objectives of the SAPOL Disability Access and Inclusion Plan also give effect to those areas of Inclusive SA that are applicable to SAPOL.

Measurement

Qualitative measurement is planned to take place across the actions within this Disability Access and Inclusion Plan. Qualitative measurement will seek to answer two key questions:

  • What is the impact on employee understanding, confidence and ability in engaging with and providing services for people with disability?
  • What is the impact on people with disability?

Where the word ‘describe’ is used in the measurement column of the plan, this refers to the need to provide a description of the measurement.

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