Page 1449 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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that the home invasions, the burglaries, the assaults and the armed robberies—all those sorts of things—are on a downward trend, a significant downward trend. That shows the efficacy of that particular approach.

The previous Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Bill Wood, and the commissioner for the AFP announced that a joint study into policing in the ACT would be conducted to inform discussions relating to the renegotiation of the policing arrangement for the ACT which is due to expire in 2005. The joint study of policing in the ACT commenced in August 2004 and was scheduled for completion in early 2005. The study is currently in its final drafting stages. In announcing the joint study, both Minister Wood and Commissioner Keelty made it clear that the policing arrangement for the territory was seen as highly successful and that both parties looked forward to a long-term relationship.

Mr Pratt has raised concerns about an apparent lack of a visible police presence in the territory. Police visibility is an issue that attracts considerable attention from the community and the media from time to time across all jurisdictions and is an issue that is sometimes ill informed. It is important to assess visibility in terms of the outcomes we wish our police to achieve on our behalf. In my view, and consistent with the purchase agreement currently in place between the government and the Chief Police Officer, these outcomes are principally about police responsiveness, managing crime levels, reducing fear of crime, improving road safety and providing professional support to the judicial process.

In achieving these outcomes, ACT Policing has for some time utilised an intelligence-led policing approach that is complemented by proactive patrolling during peak periods. The city beat team, for example, has operated since December 1988. In December 1997, a new shopfront was leased in the Garema Centre building, following the refurbishment of the plaza area. The newer location affords better surveillance of Garema Place and provides a user-friendly appearance to the public, expanded interview facilities and improved staff amenities.

The prime focus of the beat teams is to provide a police presence in the city’s retail and entertainment precinct. This is delivered more effectively through a physical and mobile police presence than via a static shopfront where intelligence, community liaison and law enforcement activities rely on the community consciously making an effort to enter the building. The city beat team undertakes both foot and vehicle patrols in and around the city centre. It patrols the Canberra City central business district and has two sergeants and 12 constables divided into two teams. All report to the officer in charge of the city station.

The operating hours of the beat team are designed to deliver a maximum police presence during the times of most crime. An analysis of those times when the city experiences peak crime was undertaken and resulted in structuring of the shifts to ensure capacity at those times. The south beat team was instituted recently to tackle antisocial behaviour issues experienced in the retail and entertainment precincts in the south of Canberra, including Manuka and Kingston. The south beat team is achieving similar outcomes to its city counter part.

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