Page 288 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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Turning now to the policing portfolio, the overarching arrangement between the ACT government and the Australian Federal Police for the delivery of policing services is due to expire in 2005. Both the ACT government and the AFP are committed to negotiating a new agreement and discussions are already underway. During the period of the last agreement, ACT Policing has delivered services focusing on crime and safety management, crime detection and investigation, traffic law enforcement; road safety, prosecution and judicial support; and crime prevention.

Refining how crime may be best addressed in the future is a constant and important public policy debate. The government and the AFP are currently participating in a joint study to inform discussions on the matter. The government is committed to providing quality policing to the ACT. The success in delivering any police service depends on fostering greater community goodwill. Customer service and professionalism are key elements in this strategy, and are fundamental to enhancing community contact and cooperation.

In Canberra today police services need to work with other agencies and with the community to deliver reductions in crime. In a complex world, problems and their solutions have many dimensions. It is no different with the detection, prosecution and prevention of crime—solutions to crime require holistic approaches, innovative ideas and interagency cooperation.

An example of this approach is the ACT Property Crime Reduction Strategy 2004-07 called Building a safer community. This is an action identified in the Canberra social plan and commits the government to working to reduce the incidence of property crime, with a particular focus on repeat property offenders, by initiating a whole-of-government strategy, focusing on the offences of burglary and motor vehicle theft.

The Chief Minister launched the strategy in August 2004, setting reduction targets of 10 per cent for burglary and 25 per cent for motor vehicle theft by December 2007. A first for the ACT in terms of a whole-of-government strategic response to property crime, the strategy outlines over 70 actions, informed by evidence-based research and consultation with key government and community stakeholders. It pulls together existing programs and important new initiatives, including actions in which non-justice agencies such as housing and ACTPLA take the lead.

New initiatives include increasing security hardware for Canberrans by making it more affordable for people on low incomes to purchase security hardware for their homes and cars; promoting “designing out” crime principles; targeting young people who are on the cusp of entering the criminal justice system; and implementing rehabilitative programs designed to provide intensive support and supervision for repeat property offenders in an attempt to break the “revolving door” pattern. A detailed report on achievements under the strategy to December 2004 will be available early next year.

Police success and goodwill towards the police are essential ingredients to a safe and secure community. One recent example that springs to mind is operation Halite, delivering sizable reductions in burglaries. The domestic violence intervention program is another major achievement. It has successfully targeted a prevalent and disturbing

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