Page 789 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. With regard to why we allow the decline in police officers, we do not. To answer your first question, as we would all know, with any organisation with a fluctuating work force, we have people who leave the service and we have people who come on. We have recruitment courses to bring them on. I have to say that any movement in the middle ranks of the police force that has happened since the Stanhope government came to power pales into insignificance with the 40 police sergeants that those people slashed out of the service back in, I think, 1999 or 2000. It has taken us this long to get the numbers back up.

I remind the house that it was the Liberal Party who offered 10 extra police officers in the 2001 election and it was the Stanhope opposition that offered and delivered 30 police officers. All I can suggest is that, once again, Mr Pratt has got it wrong about the IDG; he has got it wrong about the first part of his question; and he has got it wrong about the last part of his question.

MR PRATT: The report shows a net loss.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Pratt. I’ll get around to the lot of you, by the look of this! It is just getting out of hand.

MR HARGREAVES: I suggest that in future Mr Pratt sticks to dog questions.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, what strategies will you implement to counteract this disturbing trend, given that you made a promise in 2001 to increase, net, the number of police officers to the national average over the long term? Not a net fall, a net gain.

MR HARGREAVES: In case Mr Pratt has not figured it out, we have fairly significant recruit training colleges. In fact, I think I have seen Mr Pratt at one or two of these recruit colleges. I have not seen him in the electorate very often and I have not seen him very often at any of the other things that have been on, but I have seen him skulking about the place waiting for a free lunch at one of the recruit college functions. That is how we do it, Mr Pratt. We also do it through lateral police recruitment.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, it does not help when you do not direct your comments through the chair.

MR HARGREAVES: Okay, Mr Speaker, I accept your direction very willingly. The fact is that we do lateral recruitment; we do recruitment through the ordinary course of recruiting out of college and from the ranks of the military. You know that as well as I do, Mr Speaker, because you have been to them before. We have a commitment to having the officers replaced. As I said before, when they go to IDG deployment we get them backfilled and it costs us nothing; it comes out of the commonwealth’s contribution. If you look at the make-up of the costs of the AFP you will see that there is a certain amount that we provide to the AFP for protection around the parliamentary triangle and all that sort of stuff, but we also have an agreement on the IDG stuff. There is no effect on the ACT.

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