Page 3458 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022
community are grateful that they do not have to confront. That is the reality of a lot of policing work. That obviously puts them in some pretty trying circumstances. Mr Braddock, in his remarks, reflected on the emotional toll that it can take on some members of the force.
Mr Hanson’s motion particularly notes some recent challenging events—the pandemic and the subsequent protests. They both bear reflecting on, regarding the role that ACT Policing has played, because the ACT has been a beacon of good policing during those processes. Whereas in other jurisdictions we saw what some might have considered to be a heavy-handed handing out of fines, ACT Policing took a very constructive role in working with our community to make sure that we were as safe as possible during COVID by following all of the various restrictions and the like, without needing necessarily to move to that place of enforcement that we saw in some other jurisdictions. That reflects really well on the approach by and the attitude of ACT Policing. I think that the community respected that as well, as they looked around the country and saw what else was going on. The community probably developed a greater appreciation of the way ACT Policing goes about its job. That was similarly the case with the protests.
What I do note, having had this conversation with police, is that long after we all thought the protests had finished, and, in fact, to this day, they are still dealing with protesters in this city every day. The rest of us thought it was over and we could all get back to a bit of normalcy, after those significant impacts on our city. ACT Policing continued to deal with it on a pretty regular basis. That underlines and provides an example of the things that people do not see that ACT Policing are regularly doing on behalf of our community.
Probably because of my role, I have the opportunity to talk to police pretty regularly, whether that is the CPO, in that very formal role, or frontline officers, when I see them at various events and in various contexts related to my work, and, of course, on occasion with the Australian Federal Police Association, the union that represents the police.
All of these, I find, are very valuable conversations regarding the diversity of conversations you can have around particular matters that have taken place, around attitudes towards particular policy questions and how things are approached. I always appreciate the opportunity to have those conversations. Again, with the role that I have, it provides a very useful context for the decisions we need to take in the course of government decision-making.
One area where I have particularly had that contact is on the PACER project, the Police, Ambulance and Clinician Emergency Response team, that has been developed in the mental health space. This was an initiative that was, frankly, very well embraced by all of the services involved in it—the ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Policing and ACT mental health teams. In my time as the Minister for Mental Health, I did a ride-along one evening with the team, which was a fascinating experience. What really stood out for me was the way those three services were operating together, the way that Policing had really embraced this model, and what a difference it had made. It was a matter of their recognition, police officers’ recognition, that police have lots of training, but they are not mental health clinicians.