Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4592 ..
ACT do not make a valuable contribution, because they do. And they prove to be very effective and professional police. But it is desirable to continue to strengthen the relationship that ACT Policing has with the immediate community by drawing more people from the community into its ranks, and I congratulate the Chief Police Officer on his efforts to date in achieving that.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary?
MS HUNTER: Have you, minister, or your department done any work to assess the merits of returning to a stand-alone ACT police force, as was suggested in the opinion piece in the Canberra Times today?
MR CORBELL: This is a matter that comes up from time to time but it is not one that the government believes warrants further consideration at this time. The reason for that is that we have a strong purchase arrangement in place with the Australian Federal Police to deliver policing services to the ACT community. There are significant benefits, in our view, that flow from having the Australian Federal Police perform the community policing function in the ACT.
First of all, as I think was best demonstrated by the events surrounding the torch relay during the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, the fact that ACT Policing is part of the broader AFP meant that, in the event of a need for a surge in police numbers to deal with a very large-scale event, ACT Policing would be immediately able to draw on police from the broader AFP national capability. All those police are sworn in as police officers in the ACT. They are able to immediately dispatch their functions without any need for special constables or other types of arrangements that we would otherwise have to have in place if there was a separate police service from the AFP in the territory performing the community policing function.
There are also significant cost implications for the territory choosing to establish its own police service. Those include, for example, the need to fund solely forensic services, specialist response capabilities and a whole range of other capabilities that we are able to draw on, albeit on a fee-for-service basis, from the AFP’s broader national capabilities. I think there are significant synergies and significant cost savings associated with that.
Thirdly, I would have to seriously question whether or not a small police service established purely for the territory would be able to recruit people, particularly people of quality, to join its ranks. There is no doubt that people choose to join the Australian Federal Police because of the opportunities it presents nationally as well as locally. (Time expired.)
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary?
MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, is it still the case that the AFP Act, which is federal legislation, gives the AFP the charter to provide community policing in the ACT and is it also still the case that the self-government act does not include us having our own police force?