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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2603 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

sentence. If he had continued with the whole sentence, it said, "... although they still recorded the highest motor vehicle theft victimisation rate for 2000 at 925 victims per 100,000 persons." You forgot that bit, didn't you, minister?

In the article the minister talked about the ACT having the lowest murder, sexual assault, attempted murder and manslaughter rates. However, he did not mention that assault, unlawful entry with intent and property theft have increased. Indeed, a member of this place was threatened with a knife-like object not long ago in a public car park in the middle of the day. That member would not be all that impressed with these sorts of stats.

What disappoints me is that we live in a city now where it is not safe to walk to your car. It is a sad state of affairs that the ABS office in Belconnen, the department of health and the department of family services at Woden have employed security guards to escort people to cars after work. This is not happening at night; it is happening between 4 and 6 pm. A mother and child had their car stolen at knife-point in the middle of the day at Belconnen Mall. There was also an incident at Tuggeranong. (Extension of time granted.) Thank you very much, Mr Kaine, Mr Humphries, Mr Rugendyke and anybody else who is listening in on the TV.

The government trumpeted that an extra 50 police would come on stream and said that they would go out there in the community. In fact, those extra 50 police were made up of 15 additional police and six beat police officers-and we differ about the definition of those, but we recognise that we have at least six more officers out there-and the other 29 were supposed to come from the communications centre. Well, this is the first bit. Nineteen sworn officers vanished.

We talked about the 29 communication centre officers. I am sure Mr Rugendyke would be interested in this. He would remember us being promised 29 uniforms as a result of the civilianisation of the comm centre. Well, it turns out that 10 of the 29 were non-sworn officers. There is a bit of a porky applicable here. We are missing 10 already. It was last week I discovered that of the 19 in the communication centre, they didn't all return to operational duties either. It appears that seven left the AFP and were not replaced, three were promoted and were not replaced and nine were redeployed. The ACT only got nine officers out of 29. It is amazing what you can find when you scratch the surface.

Imagine what could be done if we were to use those vanished 10 officers and the other 10 who were not replaced. Possibly we could have activities like Operation Anchorage as a lasting and permanent feature. If my memory serves me correctly, when we talked about the budget for the 50 police officers it was stressed that those people would be applied to task force work.

The Operation Anchorage results are great, and I want to congratulate the police, but it is glaringly obvious that more needs to be done. This is not the time to sit on our hands. Canberrans should feel safe in their homes and safe walking to their cars, and this government has failed ACT residents over the last six years. To suddenly start dealing with it now is all a little bit too late.

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