Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3939 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
I also have a mind picture of him directing heavily armed police with attack rabbits to patrol our primary schools. That will do nothing but scare the kids. The Liberals' policy smacks of Monty Python's Holy Grail movie. Here we go, the attack rabbits-police trained attack rabbits! Nothing worse. That will deter the little miscreants, won't it?
Mr Pratt is whipping up fear in the community. He is saying we have a declining effectiveness on the part of the police. He sung the praises on the one hand but denigrated them in another breath. A read of this motion shows it is nothing short of a denigration.
Our police in Brindabella have an enviable record, are highly trained and effective, dedicated and highly motivated. They need congratulations and encouragement, not public criticism and certainly not hypocritical statements. On the one hand, you say they are wonderful and, on the other hand, you say they are not.
When Mr Pratt selectively quotes ABS figures he really should acknowledge the size of the ACT population, the relatively small numbers of offence increases and the nonsense of comparisons with Sydney and Melbourne. Mr Speaker, the saying goes that perception is reality. If the perception of hysteria is given too much expression it will reflect in the polls and hysteria will become reality, and that is what Mr Pratt is about-whipping up hysteria. It doesn't work for me, I'm afraid, Mr Speaker.
When Mr Pratt selectively quotes his figures, he should actually quote a few more. I think he was sprung by Ms Dundas, totally sprung. The shadow minister for police was sprung. Mr Speaker, he should hang his head in shame. I want to support our police, so I won't support a motion which denigrates them. But I will support the amendment put forward by Mr Wood. I thank Ms Dundas very much for her comments because she's spot on.
MS TUCKER (4.08): The first comment I would make is that an increase in criminal activity is not necessarily related to police numbers. The intelligence-based policing operations have been effective in the past, and that was really about how the work was organised more than increased resources.
As other members have said, crime reduction and prevention is not about police per se-not solely about that definitely. There are many research papers from the Australian Institute of Criminology and from the Crime Prevention Committee of the New South Wales Parliament, for example, which have pointed this out over the years. Intelligence-led policing does have an effect because there is a proportion of crime which is committed by repeat offenders.
Mr Pratt's polls and constituency feedback is of concern. When my office asked Mr Pratt about the basis of evidence for his motion he referred to the recent Canberra Times poll and to anecdotal feedback directed to him. The poll by the Canberra Times was conducted by an organisation called the Australian School of Governance, and their results were based on 200 randomly selected contacts. The response rate was 200 out of 1,000 calls. But in any case, 200 is hardly a representative sample. It is an interesting indication of some issues of concern with some members of the community, but it's not nearly a big enough sample for the results to be considered good evidence.