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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 1995) . . Page.. 1564 ..


on them, we will ask the community why they are not using the buses. We will better deploy our buses. We will introduce into the system mini-buses and smaller buses. Some routes that currently have buses on them that nobody wants to use will no longer be operated. We will supplement routes that need more buses with more buses as required. We will make sure that the ACT has the safest and most cost-effective public transport system in the country.

Police Services

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Police, Mr Humphries. A feature of a media statement released in conjunction with yesterday's budget was the announcement of 20 new police recruits to join the Canberra police force later this week. How many of those new police have been earmarked for Tuggeranong? In the same media release was the statement that, by the end of this week, approximately 45 additional police officers will have been assigned to areas most needing attention. Minister, are any of these 45 police men and women in addition to numbers that we already have, or are they the result of disbanding various squads, such as the fraud and drug squads to name a couple, and will this practice continue?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for his question. The 25 police officers referred to in the press statement yesterday were the 25 police officers we have diverted into the four regions of Canberra - approximately six each - as the result of the disbandment of the Major Crime Squad and of the Legal Services Branch. Mr Speaker, the general philosophy underpinning that trend towards getting people out of specialised jobs and, if I might put it this way, jobs remote from day-to-day policing activities will be a continuing trend under this Government.

We have taken the view, and I might say that the Federal Commissioner has also taken the view, that the problems of our policing system in the past have stemmed from an assumption about the way in which we should do work with our police which is not borne out by the nature of policing duties in the ACT. There is, in my view, Mr Speaker, and in the Government's view, much greater value in making sure that the skills that build up in particular areas such as the Major Crime Squad, the Legal Services Branch, or whatever, are shared amongst other police around the Territory so that people do not get roles that are so specialised that no-one else can do that job, and so that ordinary police get to see the more interesting or more exciting sorts of work that are done by specialised police elsewhere. That is a trend, Mr Speaker, which I suspect will be the new way of policing, and a trend that we will continue to promote.

I have made it clear, however, that in respect of both the Drug Squad and the Fraud Squad the Government will not be embarking on any process to devolve those functions down to the regions unless it is clear that the overall task of ensuring that the fight against fraud and drug use and drug trafficking is maintained in that process. If there is a question of losing some of our punch, some of our capacity to deal with those problems, the Government will not support those changes. Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne asked me how many of the 20 new recruits who have graduated recently will go to Tuggeranong. The answer is five.


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