Page 1460 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005
from the police and not always see a follow through whereby information is shared, where it is permissible due to privacy issues, between agencies when it would clearly be of benefit.
Mr Pratt alluded to the inability of the government to ensure the police are resourced adequately to be able to follow up cases. That seems to be the problem. The police do a great job as far as they are able, but often the follow-up is not there. An equally frustrating thing is that the police are unable to get to the scene as quickly as they need to be, and that is terrible. If you are a tenant or a resident stranded with a violent person in your back garden or walking past your residence, what are you supposed to do? It must be equally frustrating for the police not to be able to see a job through to its full conclusion due to constraints placed upon them.
Until such time as we see a firming up of any specific, publicly-recognised agreements across agencies, it will remain the case that in some circumstances the police and Housing ACT, as given examples in this motion, will not be adequately equipped to deal with people who are a danger to themselves and to others in the community. I commend Mr Pratt for bringing on this motion today, and I do call upon the government, and particularly the minister, to ensure that more is done for the Canberra community and their safety, and that certainly more is done to ensure that members of our fine police force are adequately resourced to do their job.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.05): I also commend Mr Pratt for bringing this motion forward. This is an issue of importance to many people in the community. There are very few issues that are more important than community safety. In my time in the Assembly, and before, aside from the planning portfolio I think policing has been one of the major concerns that constituents have come to me with, right across the electorate of Molonglo and across the ACT. In particular, I have had lots of representations from people in the Gungahlin area who are very concerned about the lack of a permanent police presence. This is not something that we are making up or that Mr Pratt is making up; this is an issue of general concern in the community and, no matter what Mr Hargreaves might say about it being a beat-up from Mr Pratt, this is about the residents of the ACT telling us something and us taking up that issue.
The point that was made by Mr Mulcahy on police being tied down with paperwork is an important one. It is never an easy issue as to how you overcome that, but it is one of the most common complaints that I hear from police. I have spoken to many police over the past few months and—
Mr Hargreaves: The AFPA?
MR SESELJA: I have spoken to many police in the AFP and the New South Wales police. It is an issue for many police around the country, but it is one that needs to be resolved to a degree to be able to free up police as much as possible to get out there on the beat and to be in the community and be seen in the community. Obviously, there are lots of aspects to policing: deterring crime, preventing crime, responding to crime and also that intangible, I guess, of just giving people a sense of security and a sense of confidence in their police force and a sense of confidence to walk the streets.