Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3938 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
In the month of August 2003 there were 84 burglaries in Tuggeranong. In August 2002, the year before, there were 102 burglaries. There has been a drop of 25 per cent in a year. That is not what I call an increase. It is hardly an increase, Mr Speaker. Also the figure of 84 was in fact 17 per cent of the total figure across Canberra, yet Tuggeranong has 30 per cent of the ACT's population. Surely this is a reason to congratulate the police, not to denigrate them. Also, in August 2003 there were 16 motor vehicles stolen in Tuggeranong. This was 8 per cent of the total across the ACT. Again, congratulations to the police.
In terms of community engagement, Mr Speaker: police patrols, security and special response teams at licensed shopping centres warned under-age drinkers of the possible consequences of their actions-the very point Ms Dundas was making. You warn the young people of the consequences of their actions and they may not go through Quamby and they may not end up in the adult judicial system. Indeed, Mr Speaker, the presence of police at the meeting, and at all Tuggeranong Community Council meetings, shows the commitment of the police to community engagement. Any suggestion to the contrary is scurrilous.
Let me give a case study in response times by the police. Mr Pratt talks about the decrease in response times, as I understand it. Yes, he says there has been an increase in community complaints about the lack of police response to emergency and assistance calls. I have a constituent, Mr Speaker, who has been the target of miscreants in Gordon. On an occasion, only I think early last week, he rang 000, and 12 minutes later a police car arrived. Also, Mr Speaker, the police drove by his home at intermittent intervals, roughly hourly, that night.
He is full of praise for the Tuggeranong station. I agree with this constituent and have noticed an increased police presence in the suburbs. Indeed, I have nothing but praise for our police. In every case that I have approached police on behalf of constituents I have had a very positive response and they have always responded quickly.
Mr Speaker, this is just Mr Pratt trying to be tough on crime. It is just grandstanding. Interestingly, he hasn't told us how he will pay for the additional police or the additional animal squads. His suggestion on more police dogs in the suburbs is just irresponsible.
I have a mind picture, Mr Speaker, of him having Chris Corrigan of Patrick's fame before him and them directing heavily armed police, accompanied by attack dogs, to patrol the lanes of Woollies at Erindale. We shall all feel safe buying our baked beans in Woollies, knowing that those attack dogs and balaclava bedecked police are patrolling those lanes.
Were they needed at Kambah Village the last time you were there, Mr Pratt? Did we need police and dogs at Kambah Village the last time you were there? I don't think so. The most dangerous thing there that day was the prospect of rain on your billboard-the prospect of you getting wet. There is no need to have police with dogs in our shopping centres. As a response to a crime, certainly they could be used, but not dog patrols as a regular thing. Mr Pratt is suffering from overreaction to his perceived or misinterpreted need for media sunlight.