Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2015..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
a budget-by a previous government. That is why we have elections-to change governments every now and then.
MS MacDONALD: My question is also to Mr Quinlan, in his capacity as minister for police. Minister, recent media reports and speculation have pointed to a low level of police numbers and consequent pressure on police staff, required to do a large amount of overtime to fill the consequent gaps. Can the minister report on what the latest situation is with police numbers?
MR QUINLAN: Questions have been asked in this place before, so I feel it is appropriate that that question be asked, to bring the Assembly up to date. Since December last, 40 officers have commenced duty with ACT Policing, including 22 at the end of April. A further 38 recruits will be deployed in June this year.
It is expected that 100 recruits will be specifically deployed to the ACT by December and eight lateral recruits-that is, recruits from other police forces-are due to begin work in August this year. As a short-term measure, 20 members have been recruited from within the wider AFP on six-month contracts to work in ACT Policing. They have been deployed in the last couple of weeks and will be available until November this year. Hopefully, some of those officers might be persuaded to stay on once they have experienced policing in the ACT.
It is planned to recruit a further 80 members, to be deployed by the end of 2002-03, to offset attrition and demands associated with expansion of the national AFP. To put that into perspective, the number of sworn police officers available on duty in November last year was about 545. The number of sworn officers at the end of May is now about 568. The overall sworn and unsworn force in March was 744-that is the last measure I have.
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Given the large amount of recruiting the minister has just detailed, can he say what has precipitated what would appear to be a large shortfall in police numbers?
MR QUINLAN: Yes, I can. As members opposite will be aware, because they were involved in what turned out to be protracted negotiations with the AFP over additional funding-
Mr Humphries: Actually, we were not involved in that. It was done by the federal government.
MR QUINLAN: You were not involved at all?
Mr Humphries: No. The federal government made those decisions.
MR QUINLAN: Someone has been sticking your name on letters, Mr Humphries!
Mr Humphries: Have they? You cannot believe everything you read, Mr Quinlan!