Page 1450 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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Contrary to Mr Pratt’s view that poor police visibility is leading to increased rates of criminal and offensive behaviour, I am pleased to offer a number of examples of high-profile public events that have highlighted the quality of our police service and of the administrative arrangements in place to support the police in maintaining order. Between 6 and 8 January 2005, for example, the 18th Summernats car festival was held in Exhibition Park in Canberra. Over the four days, the event attracted crowds in excess of 115,000 people and drew a significant number of tourists into the territory.

ACT Policing members dedicated to Summernats duty conducted high-visibility patrols around the EPIC venue throughout the event. Police foot patrols were conducted within the EPIC venue to monitor crowd behaviour and to act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour. Random breath testing was carried out inside the venue and in the surrounding areas. In excess of 700 tests were conducted, with seven positive tests being recorded outside the venue and one positive test being recorded inside the venue. The policing of the 2005 Summernats event was carried out in accordance with an operational order prepared by ACT Policing. Planning for the 2006 event is under way and command appointments have been scheduled in preparation for next year’s event.

The summer safe campaign, which is currently targeting antisocial behaviour and liquor licensing issues in the south of Canberra, has been involved in various incidents and patrols over the past two weekends. The team has attended 118 incidents, mainly in relation to crime targeting, but also to support general duties patrols at disturbances, noisy parties and traffic incidents. Police presence over the weekend and repeat visits to licensed premises throughout Friday and Saturday night result in a reduction in alcohol-related antisocial behaviour and send a clear message that police will continue to target the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons.

Most recently, police were integrally involved in the successful visit of the Ulysses motorcycle club members to the territory. The proactive role taken by police in planning for and supporting this event proved highly successful, with a rally on Saturday, 12 March taking place without incident. There were about 5,000 of those motorcycle people and—guess what?—there was not one Rebel.

In summary, Mr Speaker, this government remains committed to improving the delivery of front line policing services to the residents of the ACT. Policing numbers have increased by 33 FTE since October 2001. In addition, the government is awaiting the outcome of the comprehensive joint study into ACT Policing so that fully informed decisions can be taken on the future of policing services in the territory. I fully support and commend the efforts of ACT Policing in its continued achieving of very solid outcomes and signal that the government will not be supporting one word of Mr Pratt’s motion.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.29): Mr Speaker, I think it is rather sad that Mr Pratt has had to move a motion such as this in the Assembly. The fundamental duty, the primary duty, of any government is to ensure the security of its citizens. At the federal level, that means having a strong defence force. At a local level, it means having a strong police force that is able to guarantee the protection and security of its people. Mr Pratt made a number of very important points. I think that all the points made in paragraphs (a) to (d) of the motion are, rather sadly, spot on.

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