Page 37 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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The opposition also have it wrong when they criticise ACT Policing for allegedly increasing the number of unsworn officers at the expense of sworn officers. Unsworn officers provide essential services to the territory. They are the forensic scientists, intelligence analysts and other experts drawn from the ranks. It is worth noting that this process of “civilianisation” of ACT Policing support services began in 2000-01, under the stewardship of Mr Smyth. Indeed, the number of unsworn officers per head of population under the previous Liberal government is the same as it is now. The Stanhope government has simply continued—

Mr Pratt: Where is the offset?

MR HARGREAVES: Don’t you swear down the corridor at me, Mr Pratt! The government has simply continued with the number of unsworn officers left from the previous Liberal government.

The Productivity Commission report also shows the ACT to have more police dedicated to operational policing, with 88 per cent dedicated to operational duties in 2004-05 compared with 86.9 per cent in 2000-01. That means that more police are concentrating on operational imperatives and a more efficient police force.

I am pleased to see that the snapshot demonstrates an increase in female and indigenous officers in ACT Policing, meaning the police force is now more representative of the ACT community. However, the snapshot not only showed increases. There have been significant decreases since the Stanhope Labor government came to power; namely, in complaints against police and in victims of recorded crime, such as unlawful entry with intent, motor vehicle theft and other theft.

This report shows that, under Mr Smyth’s leadership as police minister in the year 2000, motor vehicle theft was running at nearly 905 thefts per 100,000 Canberrans. Under the Stanhope government, and thanks to the dedication of ACT Policing, this has decreased significantly to 538.9 thefts per 100,000 in 2004. While it is not acceptable that any vehicle is stolen, significantly fewer Canberrans have had to feel the pain of having their vehicle stolen now than under the previous Liberal government.

This reported reduction in crime is in line with the ABS recorded crime victims 2004 report, which showed a decrease in the number of victims of crime in the ACT and across the country, as well as figures from ACT police which show, since the Stanhope government was elected, a reduction in offences by a massive 20.9 per cent.

One area that is not good news is the level of community satisfaction with police services. We have seen a decline in the satisfaction shown by the Canberra community with the services received from police. Obviously we have a concern. I have been working with the Chief Police Officer, Audrey Fagan, to address these issues, and I am pleased to advise the Assembly that more recent figures show an improvement in satisfaction levels. I wish people would recognise that and pay tribute to the police for the great job they are doing.

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