Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 863 ..
Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2020-2021 cites the following evidence provided by the Chief Police Officer during the Committee’s hearings:
“We talk about police numbers all the time. It is very difficult to compare the territory with any other jurisdiction in the country because our population is fairly compacted to a very small part of the territory. I always hear people talk about the number of police in a place like Tasmania. The fact is, it is three hours between their biggest cities- here it is literally 10 minutes and I can move patrols around very quickly.”; and
(3) calls on the ACT Government to continue to:
(a) implement the Police Services Model;
(b) invest in ACT Policing members, better facilities, and equipment to ensure ACT Policing remains well-resourced to keep Canberra safe.”
I am pleased to report that crime rates in the ACT are, on average, lower than they were 10 years ago, with an 11 per cent decrease in the number of offences reported to police in the last decade. The number of overall offences reported in the 2019-20 financial year shows a decrease of five per cent when compared to the previous financial year. As a result of ACT Policing’s strong performance, Canberrans feel safe, with the highest level of perceived safety in both the home and public places. The 2021 Report on Government Services that Mr Hanson quotes found that ACT Policing continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the ACT community. Canberrans have strong perceptions of safety when at home, walking in their neighbourhood and travelling on public transport.
The perception is not misplaced. Statistics demonstrate that Canberra is a safe city, with low crime rates. Mr Coe and Mr Seselja might no longer be in this place, but their conservative hands continue to pull the strings of the opposition. We see this through their well-worn law and order campaign that has failed for over a decade. Mr Hanson needs to look no further than his own committee report for clear evidence that policing numbers cannot usefully be compared across jurisdictions.
Let me quote from page 53 of the JACS standing committee report on estimates and the budget, citing evidence from the Chief Police Officer. The CPO says:
We talk about police numbers all the time. It is very difficult to compare the territory with any other jurisdiction in the country because our population is fairly compacted to a very small part of the territory. I always hear people talk about the numbers of police in a place like Tasmania. The fact is, it is three hours between their biggest cities—here it is literally 10 minutes and I can move patrols around very quickly.
I know the Liberals do not like experts and evidence, but I am surprised to see them ignoring the Chief Police Officer. In contrast, I have worked with successive CPOs to deliver the resources and support that they have asked for. Unlike those on the other side, we do not just talk about supporting our hardworking and dedicated police officers to score political points; we actually do support those officers on the ground with investment and with resources.