Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1463 ..
police did not actually take down a record of the incident. So there was never going to be a car despatched, because it was never recorded. That is the sort of complaint, minister.
Mr Hargreaves: So the phone call was made, was it?
MR SMYTH: Yes, the phone call was made. I have spoken to the constituent.
Mr Hargreaves: And the proof of that is?
MR SMYTH: I have spoken to the constituent. It is that sort of attitude from the minister that is letting this police force down. I have a second example of a proprietor of a business in the Woden area who was having trouble with people keying or coining the sides of customers’ cars. It was happening on a regular basis. When people came in and complained to him, he would immediately ring the Woden police station. We heard this in the term of the last Assembly: on some occasions the police station would not even answer and on other occasions, when an officer eventually answered, the officer would say, “Look, I’m sorry but we don’t have a car.” You want examples. The third example: last financial year, in a matter of weeks, 32 cars between Phillip and Farrer were burgled, burnt or destroyed. Do you want another example, Mr Hargreaves? The residents of a street in, I think, Waramanga woke up to find five or six cars burgled one Saturday morning—there in front of them—for which police attendance was very slow and the result very unsatisfactory.
The police are telling us that they do not have the resources; they do not have the ability to respond to the rising level of crime in the ACT because they are underresourced. It gets back, I suspect, to leadership. I think public servants are willing to give that little bit extra if they know, firstly, that it is appreciated and, secondly, that it is respected. What they do not see from the Stanhope Labor government is that they are respected or that they have the trust of the government.
Something that narked me for a long time was the failure of the police minister in the last term to attend police remembrance days. Normally, it is held on 30 September and it is held at various locations. Except for the one on 30 September, just before the election, guess what? No representative from the Labor Party ever attended police remembrance day for the first term of the Stanhope government. They certainly did not attend, to the best of my knowledge, in the years previous to last year.
That something that the police officers at those ceremonies comment on constantly to those of us who attend. It is noted that there are representatives of the Liberal Party. The Democrats used to come and even the Greens used to come, but the lack of attendance from the Labor Party on those days was well and truly noted. Indeed, in the last term of the last government, there were a number of farewells to senior police officers that members of the government did not attend. That shows a lack of respect for what the police do and has led to this erosion of confidence in this government from the AFP. Mr Hargreaves, if you do not understand that that erosion of confidence is there, you are blind to what is going on inside your portfolio. Being in denial mode will not make it better.
We are saying that the people of Canberra are telling us that they want to see more police officers on the street. They understand that you made that commitment a couple of weeks