Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (12:40): Tomorrow, Thursday 29 September, marks National Police Remembrance Day, and I will be attending the Police Academy at Taperoo to observe the significance of what National Police Remembrance Day means to our police force and our police community. They come together to reflect on the memory of our police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their service.
As a state and as a nation we pause to honour those who keep us safe every day. It is also an important time to remember police officers who have lost their lives through illness or other circumstances and to grieve with the families of our fallen officers. This day was first held in 1989, and it is one of the most important days in the policing calendar. It is recognised across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.
South Australia's police force was established on 28 April 1838, and it is one of the oldest centrally controlled police services in the world. Throughout the history of South Australia Police, 61 officers have lost their lives in the line of active duty. Over that time, we have seen South Australia Police providing a range of policing services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are 5,000 active sworn in members across the state, including cadets in training and the PSOs.
In 2001, the National Police Memorial was established in Canberra to pay tribute to Australian police officers who have been killed on duty or who have died as a result of their duty. I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of our officers to their work and to the community, particularly in the Riverland and Mallee. I hold their efforts in exceptionally high regard. We know that in regional areas such as Chaffey, police are part of a very small community, so they work closely with one another to reduce crime through programs such as Neighbourhood Watch.
In the lead-up to the National Police Remembrance Day I would like to acknowledge the recent anniversaries of South Australian officers Motor Traffic Constable Jerry George Preston and Sergeant Martin Henry Harnath, who were both killed in the line of duty. On 12 September 1980, Constable Preston died after a motorcycle he was riding collided with a vehicle on Redhill Bridge at Port Adelaide. The driver of the other vehicle was charged with drink-driving offences. On 18 September 1985, Sergeant Harnath died after the police vessel he was working on exploded at the Thebarton Police Barracks.
I would also like to pay tribute to SAPOL's first two police officers, Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter and Lance Corporal William Wickham. On 7 May 1847, both Carter and Wickham tragically drowned after their canoe capsized while crossing the River Murray near the station of Mr J.H. Wigley. For those of you who are aware of where Banrock Station is, that ceremony is held annually to commemorate those two officers who tragically died. They had been ordered to travel to Overland Corner to respond to disturbances between the colonists and the First Nations people over the movement of sheep and cattle.
This day reminds us that we must never underrate the important role our police officers play in our state and our communities and the real risks they take every day to protect us as South Australians. The South Australia Police Remembrance Day service will be held tomorrow morning at 11am at Fort Largs. I think it is really important that we take a moment to give respect and just a thought to those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and also those officers who continue to keep our communities safe and rise through adversity, particularly with the increased crime and the increased gang warfare we are currently experiencing.
It is also the government's role to make sure that we have adequate police resources and staffing so that we can continue to have a safe community, to have a safe state and to make South Australia a destination to be reckoned with.