SA Police will stand down from border checkpoints effective immediately, the commissioner has declared, without consulting the state’s top public health officer.
Grant Stevens made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon and also said domestic and New Zealander travellers no longer needed approval to enter the state.
He said some police would remain at Adelaide Airport but its operation would be scaled back.
“People coming into SA via the airport will still be greeted by SA Police who will simply ask them three questions: Have they been overseas in the past 14 days, have they got any COVID-19 symptoms and do the know if they’ve been in contact with anyone who is COVID-19 positive?” the commissioner said.
“We will no longer be stopping vehicles and speaking to drivers (at road checkpoints).
“We do have infrastructure we need to maintain security over so as we scale down that infrastructure, we’ll be bringing our people back over the next few days.
“We imagine it would speed up the process for people coming into SA via the airport and will be a relief for people travelling across border via road, and gives us the opportunity to redeploy our officers back to other duties.”
The commissioner said he made the decision without consulting SA’s chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier because it was “an operational decision” that directly and “significantly” affected police resources.
He said he believed the risk of repatriated Australians coming into SA from other jurisdictions and skipping quarantine was very low.
“It’s not to say that won’t happen but we need to balance risk with the impact of managing those risks.”
Mr Stevens said the decision was made based on the current level of COVID-19 activity in other states and territories, and ongoing conversations with his counterparts around Australia.
“We’ve assessed that the risk of someone slipping through the cracks is very low and is not sustainable to maintain given that low-level risk.
“The assurances from other jurisdictions gave us the confidence to move in this direction.”