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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 232 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

those sorts of decisions. That is absolutely true, Mr Speaker. What has to happen now, of course, is that, if a decision is taken by ACTEW to go down this path, it would come to a shareholders meeting. At that stage, both Mr Humphries and I would be totally briefed on the issue and a decision would be taken.

Police Force

MR RUGENDYKE: My question is to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety. Mr Humphries, there seems to have been a lot of confusion towards the end of the last Assembly and during the election campaign on the day-to-day police numbers, their responsibilities and the positions they fill. I wonder whether you could clear up the matter for us. On any given day, how many police do we have contracted to work in the ACT? On average, what percentage of them would be off on some sort of leave - recreation leave, sick leave - workers compensation, et cetera? What percentage would be public service positions? What percentage might be based outside the ACT but included in ACT figures? What number would be left who are actual operational police officers on a day-to-day basis in our community at the moment?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Rugendyke for his question. I notice he has a question on the notice paper about police numbers over the last nine years or so. In the process of answering that question, I think some of the issues he has raised in today's question will be answered. But let me say that I certainly have been concerned since discovering about 18 months ago that the figures being supplied at that stage by the Australian Federal Police to the ACT Government were not accurate with respect to police numbers. As a result of that discovery, we have been very keen to get a much more accurate flow of information from the Australian Federal Police about police numbers in the ACT.

We have contracted 694, as you are aware. That does include staff positions as well as sworn officers. I hope it does not include anybody based outside the ACT, although I could not be absolutely certain that it did not until we had a better way of being able to engineer accountability from the Federal Police for numbers in the ACT. I will seek to get the information that you have asked for. I will be as interested as you are in seeing what the information discloses. Certainly, we have made it very clear to the Australian Federal Police, as we move to renegotiate the police contract with the Federal Government, that we have a much higher level of accountability for what goes on in the ACT with respect to policing. The level of information flow has not been satisfactory in the past. It is now much better, but it could go a lot further, I think. We look forward to being able to get that better information. I hope to be able to supply that information to Mr Rugendyke in due course.

MR RUGENDYKE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I would be concerned if that figure of 694 included positions in the police technical unit, the special branch, the video unit and the diplomatic liaison posts. I would ask that in Mr Humphries's questioning of the AFP those positions be accounted for and not included in the figures.

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