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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2601 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

debt of thanks for the magnificent efforts of the men and women of the Australian Federal Police in terms of the successes we are seeing here today.

MR HARGREAVES (4.37): I would like to take issue with something that Mr Hird said. He said that on day one I say the police are doing a great job and on day two I say they are not. Even a dyslectic reader would be able to figure out that I only ever congratulate the police if they are doing something well, and I belt the government if they are not allowing the police to do a good enough job. That will be the tenor of what I have to say today.

I reject the notion that Labor, Mr Stanhope or I, either individually or collectively, are undermining the police. In fact, Mr Deputy Speaker, we have been annoyed at the smoke and mirrors approach this government has over the management of our policing services. I remind the chamber that it was my presence on the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety which resulted in some faster work in the development of the contract which supports the policing agreement. I have to congratulate the government on that. I think the emergence of the policing agreement was a damn fine idea. We might tinker at the edges and disagree about some of the measures, but essentially we agree on at least that much.

One of the things that Mrs Burke trumpeted about the police just showed her absolute ignorance of what the police do in the town. I do not suppose she has ever met one. She said, for example, that the police do not do court transport work and that that is going to free up resources for the police to do something else. Mrs Burke ought to come into the real world. That has been the case for some considerable time now, for as long, I think, as I have been in this chamber. Any police who may have been freed up by that change have long since been absorbed into the community through the AFP. So to throw that one in our face is, Mr Deputy Speaker, like spitting into the wind; it will just come back and hit you in your own chops.

I would like to sincerely congratulate the ACT contingent of the AFP on their successful result with Operation Anchorage. I commend the government on nothing, but I commend the AFP for their work, so let that go on the record. The reported 24 per cent reduction in home burglaries and the 29 per cent reduction in vehicle theft is outstanding. It needs to be recognised that the 20 per cent has been exceeded. Congratulations need to be forthcoming and I am happy to acknowledge that. If these results are true, then this is a fantastic result.

I look forward to seeing the clear-up rate statistics. We have not seen them as yet, and they have not yet been trumpeted by the government. All we see is that many people have been charged. I have no doubt that there are multiple burglars and multiple motor vehicle thieves out there. People are running around doing a great number of these jobs, and pinching them and dragging them before the court will have an effect, and I think it's a terrific achievement. I look forward to seeing what clear-up rates and what conviction rates will apply to those charges, and what property recovery has occurred.

I recall speaking to Superintendent Castle from my own dear electorate of Brindabella about this very thing. He told me that 90 per cent of vehicles are recovered, and most of them, 80 per cent, are recovered within 24 hours. That is a terrific success rate. I have not seen those anecdotal things appear in the official stats.

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