Page 2200 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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What about the subject of measuring performance and relying on AFP surge capacities? He has often talked about surge capacities. Does this mean, therefore, that ACT Policing is depending on the AFP to provide additional police for surge activities? That is what it seems to be. I would not like to be in the minister’s shoes trying to get a grip on how many police we have if we are relying on AFP surge capacities as well. There has to be a better way of dealing with this. These FTE and surge capacity dynamics arrangements are just too flexible—not in the operational sense, which would otherwise make sense, but in terms of being able to account for police strength and capability. Perhaps this needs to be looked at.

We need to seriously debate here a better method of accounting for the effectiveness of police capability. No longer can we have the minister simply saying, “Look, we’ve got surge capacities; we’ve got FTEs; we’ve got police on loan; the numbers change; you can’t really tie it down because the police strength is different from week to week.” I do not think that is acceptable; that is not good governance. I do not entirely blame this government for that predicament. That is, after all, a regime that the previous Liberal government also operated under. Perhaps it is now time for a change so we can tie this down.

I will talk briefly about a couple of matters. I would remind the minister that I witnessed an incident in mid-December at the Hellenic Club, where a 45-minute wait occurred before the police could respond to a very large hooliganism activity. Twenty-five cars participating in burnouts and disrupting the patrons of that club is, I would think, a fairly significant incident. When that occurred I felt sorry for the police. Clearly they simply did not have the men and women on the ground or the patrol cars to react to something they would have heard at Woden Police Station and even smelt, given the amount of smoke blowing downwind.

We talked earlier about Manuka. Contrary to what Mr Gentleman says, there is widespread feedback from Manuka shopping centre. Mr Mulcahy is quite right; there is a broad array of feedback from that place about crime in that area. I refer too to the woman at Narrabundah who rang in and reported a crime in progress, with a car burning. The minister stood up here the other day and denied that that incident had occurred. He denied that that woman had actually rung the police. I have gone back to her again. She has produced her telephone records; she has gone to the police and proved that she did make that phone call and the police have now recognised that that event occurred. That was a crime in progress; there was a car burning and the police could not respond.

We go on to talk about Calwell shops. Contrary to what Mr Gentleman said earlier—that he goes down there and he sees plenty of police—if he talks to the burghers of Calwell shops, the association of retailers and the owners of those shops, he will find that they have had to replace metres of broken glass over the last couple of days. They have had somebody break through the roof and flog all the meat out of the butcher’s shop. In the space of seven days all of the outside buildings have been covered in graffiti, and there have been thefts and shoplifts from the local cafe.

Mr Hargreaves: It must have been a desperado!

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