Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 394..
MR SPEAKER: And do not abuse question time or standing orders in that way again.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I ask a question, through you, of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. As part of the draft and actual budget process for 2000/2001, the government announced its intention to augment policing numbers in the ACT by 50. This was to come from 29 released from the communications centre, 15 new positions and six positions for the community beat police program. Indeed, the government provided funds for these initiatives to commence from 1 July 2000, a whole year ago.
Minister, recently your government announced that four police officers would be patrolling Kaleen and Kambah and that two police officers on horseback-an existing program-would also be available. Minister, why has it taken eight months to institute the program? Why have you not provided the full six officers that you promised? What has happened to the unused funds resulting in the non-implementation of the program?
MR SMYTH: Clearly, Mr Hargreaves in his question does not understand that two plus four equals six. There are six officers doing community beat police operations. There are two in the mounted police, and they commenced in October 2000. Indeed, as the member accurately remembered, there are now two officers operating in the Kaleen area and two operating in the Kambah area. This is very important because we want to be out there with the community rather than wait for crime to occur. This gives the police the opportunity to work in the field of crime prevention. Some credit should be given to Mr Rugendyke who is perhaps in many ways the model or the prototype for what is being done.
What we decided to do was get the mounted police up and running first. This took some time but it is now working properly. The next stage was to introduce the four beat police and that was done recently. There are now six community beat police operating in the ACT.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, were the 15 additional police officers promised recruited before 1 July 2000 and, if not, where were the resulting savings applied? Why have you consistently claimed that you have increased the number of police by 50 and clearly you have not?
Mr Humphries: We have.
Mr Smyth: Operational officers.
MR HARGREAVES: You have not. They have not been recruited. Why, minister, have you misled the public in this regard?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, this is the party that voted against the budget last year that would have increased police numbers. They voted to stop the beat police. The level of hypocrisy in this is just astounding. On the one hand they stand here and say, "How dare you try to attempt to fudge your police numbers" and on the other hand they voted