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SA govt backflip on new cops

AAP logoAAP 8/09/2016

South Australia will look to employ more than 300 extra police over the next two years after ditching a decision to delay the recruitment drive to 2020.

School leavers will be among the 313 people joining the force by 2018 after the government changed its mind about the delay.

But it won't recruit officers from overseas, believing instead teenagers can help fill the gap.

Police Minister Peter Malinauskas says after talks with police chiefs and the police association, the government will spend $4.1 million to boost the force.

The police groups have also agreed to drop the wage of police cadets aged 21 or under to $35,000 for their first year, down from $53,000.

Mr Malinauskas says he thinks the lower wage is still a good deal for school-leavers given the training they will receive and the potential for progression.

"We think that will result in new, younger people being attracted to apply, which will hopefully result in more young people ending up in a great career," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

The minister said the government had originally delayed the recruitment plan as police had indicated they couldn't hit the target so soon without recruiting from overseas.

"The police commissioner and I agreed that wasn't a very good idea, particularly in light of the significant employment challenges that we've got in our state," he said.

The extra officers will bring the total number of full-time police in SA to 4700.

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