Page 1451 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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There is growing concern and a commensurate loss of confidence in the government to protect the community and there is a real concern in the community that, if crime is reported, nothing actually happens; it is difficult for the police to get there. All of us, I think, get phone calls on a regular basis from frustrated citizens who call police when there is trouble and find that the police simply cannot come or are unable to come.

Only recently, a couple of days ago, I got a phone call in relation to a weekend incident in my electorate. It was said that for 2½ hours on Saturday afternoon, between 2.30 and 5.00 pm, a ute was parked at the corner of Tillyard Drive and Joyner Crescent in Flynn and three young blokes, probably late teens or early 20s, were drinking beer in the back of the ute. Maybe that would not be such huge drama in itself, but they were carrying on: they were dropping their pants, throwing browneyes and making a general nuisance of themselves.

A neighbour in the area rang the police and was told that something would be done. It was not and he rang back. He had his young grandchildren there and, fortunately, he managed to keep them away. Apparently the occupants of a household nearby took their kids and left because of the carryings on of these guys. One fellow rang up and gave the police a registration number. The police said that they could not get anyone there because the police patrol car—note, “car”; one car for Belconnen, which I understand includes Gungahlin as well a lot of the time—had a higher priority. Finally, after 2½ hours, these young blokes went off.

The police did ring back that night and tell my constituent that they would chase it up and have a talk to the driver, but that was a little bit late. If that had happened 10, 15 or 20 years ago there would have been a police car there very quickly and the young blokes would have been spoken to—not necessarily arrested for something like that; just told to pull their head in, move on or whatever—and potentially dangerous situations would have been avoided. Who knows how much over the limit the driver of that vehicle might have been when he finally left 2½ hours later? That is something that simply would not have been allowed to happen probably even five years ago. Someone would not have been allowed to be there for 2½ hours annoying the neighbourhood to that extent.

Another incident I recall was the one recently in Florey when a couple of people riding motorbikes knocked down an elderly person. A citizen managed to get a good description of the rider of one of the bikes and a couple of weeks later saw that person doing wheelies, burnouts or whatever you do on motorbikes in another part of Belconnen. That person rang the police and someone finally came 1½ hours later, but the rider had well and truly gone by then. There was no registration on the bike, of course; it was unregistered.

Even more worrying crime incidents, ones further up the scale, have been reported to my office. That is being allowed to happen simply because the police do not have the resources to get out there and do the job they used to do. Having one car for an area the size of Belconnen, especially if Gungahlin in included at that time as well, is simply not enough. We just would not have seen that previously. Even 10 years ago there were at least two cars which did Belconnen and which did Tuggeranong.

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