Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 865 ..

Firstly, we need to note our low crime rates. In contrast, the ACT government should pursue justice reinvestment processes to address the systemic causes of crime for the benefit of the whole community. To do this, we need interagency coordination to address the social and economic circumstances that increase people’s risk of both committing a crime and becoming a victim of crime. This focus was supported by Deputy Commissioner Gaughan in his comments to the justice and community services committee last month. He said:

It is also important when we do this—

respond to community problems—

that we do not look at it just through the policing lens. It is important that we use services across all ACT directorates to solve the problem. Through my experience, sometimes it does not actually start out as a justice problem; it might start out as a health problem or a housing problem or even an education problem. So we have to work with everyone to address the issues and come together to find a solution. To be frank, I think that the best solution in most instances is not justice; it is something previous to that.

An example of interagency coordination is the very successful and innovative intermediary program run by the Human Rights Commission. Vulnerable witnesses, such as children in sexual abuse cases, face extraordinarily significant communication barriers when giving evidence to police. Intermediary schemes help vulnerable witnesses communicate their evidence. Police have said that the intermediary program has assisted many ACT Policing investigators to receive the best possible information and statements from victims and witnesses. Their 24/7 availability has ensured that they can access the service when required, supporting the efficient investigation of what are often difficult matters.

We hope this program will be given expanded funding in the future. I note that to get these efficient outcomes we need not more police but, rather, highly trained speech pathologists, social workers and psychologists. Another example of interagency coordination is the PACER program, where police work with mental health professionals. The collaboration is acknowledged for its achievements in interagency cooperation and favourable outcomes for people with mental illness or disorder.

The ACT Greens also welcome the continued funding of the PACER program and the plans to expand it out to 2024. Investment should also be made in programs for people exiting detention, to support their transition back into the community and to reduce rates of recidivism, as well as in programs to address drug and alcohol addiction and mental health, through access to rehabilitation centres and mental health services.

We need ACT Policing to be well resourced and skilled, to have close relationships with the ACT’s diverse community, and to be able to respond to the community’s diverse needs. Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said:

… to get the right culture in the organisation we probably need to change who we recruit and who we employ in the AFP … Therefore, we need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees; we do need more people that come from other linguistic backgrounds; and we need people that have disabilities. We need to represent the community that we police …

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video