Page 183 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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My motion is pretty simple. It calls for two things. It says, “Let’s give the resources, let’s get the numbers up, so that we’ve got enough police to do their job.” Let us get a level that is equivalent to that in New South Wales. Why should we have more police per capita in Queanbeyan than we do in Canberra? I do not think that that makes any sense at all. And let us make sure that we do not go to online reporting. The Chief Police Officer has made it clear that they are going to be less responsive and that this is because of a lack of resources. Let’s not do that.

If that has not rolled out yet, as the minister said, let us not go down that path, because it is quite clear that the community is already frustrated. Those people that have had contact with Policing over the last 12 months have the lowest satisfaction rate in Australia. Let us not make that worse. Can you imagine what those satisfaction levels will be when you are told, “The police aren’t coming. Just put your report online”? When your house gets broken into, Mr Assistant Speaker, the police will not attend; you just log it online. How will that affect the satisfaction rate?

The only winners out of this are criminals. The only winners are the people out there that want to do break and enters, people that want to steal your car and people that want to steal from you. They are the only winners out of this. They will be looking at those ROGS figures and thinking, “Brilliant. We can commit a crime in this town and, 97 per cent of the time, we’re not going to get caught.”

If you look at the statistics in other jurisdictions, those statistics are much better. The clearance rates for property crime in other jurisdictions are much better, and the question is: why? A significant element of that has to be the fact that our police are spread so thin that they simply cannot respond. That is the advice that I am getting from the Australian Federal Police Association. I quote again from the AFPA:

I would argue that ACT Policing have been under-resourced for some time. The frustration coming from the membership at the moment is that ACT Policing is, let’s face it, a pretty light on police force by Australian standards, by worldwide standards.

It would be good to see Minister Gentleman inject a hundred or so police officers into ACT policing. 200 to get us in line with the minimum standard that is set across Australia in terms of numbers per hundred thousand. It’s times like this that you see the minimum numbers would be really useful …

The AFPA are not saying, “We want rolled gold here.” They are saying, “We want the minimum number to do the job.” At the moment it is evident from the statistics, from the AFPA, from the frontline police officers themselves, that we are below minimum numbers.

I commend our police, who are being let down by this government, who are being let down by this minister, and who are out there doing an incredibly difficult job. They have had to cope with the pandemic, the bushfires, and out-of-town protests from a whole bunch of ragtag people that seem to come to this town, from Extinction Rebellion to the latest anti-vax mob. Let us give them the support that they deserve. I commend this motion to the Assembly.

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