Page 3453 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

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We need to recognise, while we are talking about the incredible work that our police do, those strains on our police force. According to the latest Report on government services from the Productivity Commission, the number of operational police in the ACT is proportionately the lowest in the country on every measure.

In 2020-21, total recurrent spending was $188.6 million, the lowest in the country. The number of operational police per capita was the lowest in the country. We have the lowest rate of clearance for property crime in the country, and one of the highest rates of car theft in the entire country. That is why the police have been calling out for some years for more support. As the AFPA said:

It’s almost an embarrassment that we spend the least amount of money in Australia on policing in this jurisdiction and also have the lowest number of police officers per capita.

That is no way to treat those who have given so much for so long, with so little support. It is disappointing.

I would like to talk about the Police Remembrance Day, an event that occurs every year. The Australian Federal Police Commissioner said that this day was—and I quote:

To honour all who have served and continue to answer the call of duty, and to commemorate our colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

We especially honour the memory of our colleagues who have lost their lives for the betterment of ours.

There are 823 names of men and women killed in the line of duty or who have died as a result of their duties.

At a joint ceremony hosted by the NSW Police Force, Monaro District and ACT Policing, the touchstones bearing the names of 15 police officers were received at the National Police Memorial.

The commissioner continued, and I wholeheartedly agree:

Policing is a service and an honour.

For those of us who heed this call, we are aware of our heavy responsibility, and the perils that come with it. We choose this vocation not for ourselves, but for our communities and for our country.

As police officers, we dedicate our lives to protect Australia’s way of life; secure in our ability to work, raise our families, express ourselves, practice our religions and enjoy our interests.

Most officers on this wall had no reason to feel their lives were threatened, going to work with the full expectation of returning home. We are often called on to act, not with an absence of fear, but with the courage to face it.

As a community, we trust and rely on our police officers to keep us safe, but that safety is not always afforded to our police officers in the course of these duties.

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