Page 185 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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The point of justice reinvestment is to make sure that our money is invested in programs and in approaches that we know reduce crime, not blindly saying that we need more police. We must work to target and solve the problems people have in their lives which lead them to interacting with the police in the first place. This means we work together as a community to build support around those in the justice system, because we know that this reduces crime.

As I have already commented in response to Mr Hanson’s similar motion about 12 months ago, we do need ACT Policing to be well resourced and skilled, to have close relationships with the ACT’s diverse community and to be able to respond to the community’s diverse needs. To again quote the deputy commissioner:

… to get the right culture in the organisation we probably need to change who we recruit and who we employ in the AFP. Therefore, we need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees; we do need more people that come from other linguistic backgrounds; and we need people that have disabilities. We need to represent the community that we police.

This means we need to think about the change in the character of the police force rather than just its size.

Similarly, I would be interested to understand what investments could be made in upgrading the information systems used by ACT Policing. This would not only reduce the burden on individual police officers but could potentially facilitate cross-service support, for example through mental health, housing and drug and alcohol services. I will leave that question in the able hands of Mr Gentleman and his team.

For now, the Greens support the investments being made into the prevention-focused and citizen-centric police services model. We support evidence-based policy that will ensure that the ACT continues to be a safe place to live, while addressing the injustices experienced by vulnerable Canberrans. It is for these reasons that the Greens support the amendment proposed by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.43): I would like to begin today by expressing the ACT government’s sincere thanks and appreciation to ACT Policing for continuing to keep our community safe in these challenging and uncertain times. When I reflect on the many extraordinary challenges our community has faced over the past few years, I am inspired by the professionalism, dedication and commitment demonstrated by ACT Policing to support our community.

During the devastating 2019-20 bushfires and the destructive 2020 hailstorms, ACT Policing immediately responded to support the community. Members rolled up their sleeves and worked tirelessly, facing adversity and rising to each and every challenge. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, ACT Policing officers have done the same, going above and beyond to support the community, often in difficult circumstances.

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