Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3932 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
about ACT police collectively and individually-and I don't argue with that; that is right-but he wants to go on and drum up a problem. I think that his first five minutes didn't fit with his next 15 or whatever, because then he went on and outlined a range of concerns.
Mr Pratt quoted a variety of figures. I guess, coming from where they do, they are probably accurate for that citation-and I acknowledge that figures vary over a period. Those of us that have followed this know that crime is up or down, confidence is up or down, and it does change constantly over the period. Various aspects of crime will go down, as Mr Pratt pointed out, and others will go up. Then that will be reversed again later on. Some of the figures where there were significant upward growths could well reflect the smaller number of those incidents where statistically you do get greater percentage variation. I don't know; I just speculate that might be the case. So it is a difficult circumstance.
We agree that we have got a good police force. I think we all agree, as the police would, that we always want to do better; we always want to be out there, with the community having full confidence in what is happening. There are more police employed now than when you were in office. For whatever that is worth, there are more police now. There are different processes in place.
The question you raise about community policing is one that probably requires a very large and considered debate and a longer period of discussion. Mr Pratt has indicated his wish for community policing. That is fine. I think Mr Rugendyke, an ex-member of this Assembly, was part of that pilot which never really developed.
Mrs Dunne: That was country town policing, something completely different.
MR WOOD: Yes; same thing, different name. But that never really developed. Community policing is fine-to have police represented visibly in all streets in all suburbs-but, I tell you, it ain't possible. No, it requires a very considerable extra resource.
People might be comfortable seeing police out and about widely across Canberra, on their bikes in the green areas, with their dogs and their horses. This might be an animal-led police force. Actually, I think it is better to put the police into motor vehicles. You are talking about rapid response. We need police in motor vehicles.
I don't know if you've got back an answer to a question I signed off to you the other day about response times. I have a concern about response times. You have mentioned that here. If we want response times I don't think galloping around on a horse is great for that.
Incidentally, I have asked ACT Policing to review the horse team, whatever it's called. Originally Mr Humphries, who was very keen about it, wanted six horses, and we finished up with two. I think they are mostly out in the paddock somewhere. But we have asked for a review of that, and that is going around the circuit.
In regard to community policing-and I think Mr Peel's 1829 statements were nice and very good-in fact, in 2003, you give me a policeman in a car for rapid response any