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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2613..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

We have made a difference, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. We have put the facilities there for the police to use. We have put the money there. We have given them the equipment that they have asked for so that they can get on with protecting the people of the ACT and combating crime.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week, according to the Labor Party spokesman on policing, we actually had escalating crime figures. It was all going up Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. On Friday when he was on the radio he was congratulating the AFP officers on their wonderful job of bringing the figures down. Today we hear doubt. He says, "If these results are real it's a great achievement." What sort of relationship is the would-be minister for police going to have with the police force when he doubts their figures?

Mr Hargreaves goes on in the article in the Chronicle to say that the government has fudged the police numbers. Not true. The police numbers we provided came from the police. If Mr Hargreaves does not believe the police, what sort of relationship are they going to have in the future should they get into government when they have no commitment? They oppose. They were not interested at all in the closed circuit TV cameras in Civic which have proved to be an immensely useful tool for the police in stopping crime and solving crime. They were very wary when they came to the Bail Act. Yesterday they opposed amendments to the Bail Act.

The police told us that they wanted the tools to do their job properly. We have backed them up financially, we have backed them up politically, and we have backed them up legislatively to let them do their job. Those opposite have ignored them, or, worse than ignoring them, have cast doubt upon their figures and have called them Keystone Cops and Constable Plods. We have given them the tools, we have given them thermal imaging cameras, we have given them DNA and we have given them closed circuit TVs. I guess that under the Labor Party technology was upgraded from pencils to ball point pens, because that was all they were capable of delivering or thinking about.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the figures that we quote have been provided to me by the police. They are the police figures that Mr Hargreaves casts doubt upon. He does not believe the police. The faint praise that police get at last is only because we are in the home run to an election and he has suddenly realised that he has upset 750-odd voters. John, 750 voters are not going to save you because they do not believe you. We have given them the tools to do their job properly, and we will continue to do so. We know that a strong community is a safe community. We have involved the community through things like the police volunteers, the community crime reduction initiatives and by listening to the community. We give them what they need. We will continue to do that.

I am happy to support Mr Rugendyke's amendment. All praise to the police. They have done a tremendous job in the last six months in Operation Anchorage. They did tremendous jobs in the years before that in Chronicle, Dilute and Handbrake. Mr Quinlan said it was statistically inevitable that the figures were going to come down. Well, we are bucking the trend nationally. No other jurisdiction is putting out their figures, and I can tell you why-because in the main they are going up.


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