Page 186 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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They have continued to demonstrate high levels of commitment and dedication and have always remained in a strong position to provide community policing to the territory.

Despite these challenges, our police are continuing to do an excellent job, ensuring that the incidents of crime remain low and are responded to quickly when they do occur. That is why it is extremely disappointing that the opposition are trying to score political points by degrading the service of our hardworking officers yet again.

Year on year Mr Hanson and the Canberra Liberals disregard the excellent results our police continue to achieve and disrespect our officers in the process, but it is clear from the 2022 Report on Government Services that Canberrans are not buying their scaremongering. The ROGS data demonstrates that ACT Policing continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the community. Canberrans feel safe, with one of the highest levels of perceived safety in both the home and public places, with high perceptions of safety at home, walking in the neighbourhoods and travelling on public transport. Despite what the Canberra Liberals claim, Canberrans can be assured that adequate police resources have always been available to support and protect our community and always will be.

As the opposition well knows, police numbers in the ACT cannot be easily compared to those in other jurisdictions which cover a much wider geographical area, and Mr Hanson need look no further than his own committee report for this clear advice. Let me quote from page 53 of the JACS standing committee on estimates and the budget report, citing evidence from the Chief Police Officer:

We talk about police numbers all the time. It is very difficult to compare the territory with any other jurisdiction in the country because our population is fairly compacted to a fairly small part of the territory. I always hear people talk about the numbers of police in a place like Tasmania. The fact is, it is three hours between their biggest cities—here it is literally 10 minutes and I can move patrols around very quickly.

Nonetheless, the ACT government has injected record funding into ACT Policing, and the workforce continues to grow and welcome new members. I am proud to report that 98 recruits graduated and have joined ACT Policing in the past financial year, delivering on the government’s commitment to grow police numbers across Canberra.

If the Canberra Liberals are so concerned about police numbers, why did they vote against our record investment in ACT Policing in the 2019-20 budget that delivered more than an additional 60 members? Why have they voted against our budget measures that have supported police ever since? Unlike those opposite, the ACT government has a strong record of investment in our police and will continue resourcing ACT Policing as Canberra grows. In the 2021-22 budget alone we are investing over $9.7 million to improve accommodation for our police and emergency services in Gungahlin; $4.2 million to meet the growing and increasingly complex workload associated with forensic medical services; $6.6 million to replace ACT Policing’s radio core communication system; and over $11 million for expanded enabling services to support operational capacity.

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