Australia's justice systems are prioritising cost efficiency and productivity. Some experts have concerns

In 2020, it was revealed that the NSW Police had been given a quota of more than 240,000 searches, including strip searches, during the 2019 financial year, ABC News Sam Nichols reports. 

The following year, they had additional quotas to issue almost 110,000 move-on directions and detect 305,000 crimes, despite a fall in crime rates across most categories between 2019 and 2021.

But by 2022, the police scrapped the controversial target-based strategy after facing heavy criticism from legal groups and civil libertarians.

Former NSW director of public prosecutions and long time NSWCCL member Nicholas Cowdery described the strategy as a distortion of law enforcement, telling Nine Media that it had "serious consequences for innocent citizens".

A number of public sectors have been affected by the ideological shift, including the healthcare sector, tertiary education and academia — to their detriment. For example, a 2023 paper reported that studies considered "disruptive" were declining, with "productivity" tipped as a contributing factor.

Another sector that's been impacted is the justice system, with a shift away from going to court to decisions being reached behind closed doors, all in the name of efficiency.

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