Canberra’s police need more backing from the government to tackle crime

Giulia Jones MLA 20 April 2018 15

Andrew Barr’s old and tired government has its priorities wrong.

While the Barr Government focuses on land deals that benefit fellow travellers of the Labor movement, they wilfully turn a blind eye to the serious crime problems emerging on our streets.

An alarming increase in robberies and theft has left many of our local businesses in shock. In the past 12 months alone, our local clubs have been broken into or robbed on more than 25 occasions, while more than 75 other local businesses have also been victims of similar crimes.

The latest Annual Report on policing confirmed what many are seeing on our streets: robbery has gone up 53 per cent in 12 months, including a frightening 27 per cent increase to armed robbery.

The massive increase in robbery is an important issue to many Canberrans who no longer feel safe in their own suburbs. But despite the community’s concerns, Police Minister Mick Gentleman dismissively maintains that “crime statistics go up and down”. When asked if he planned to visit any victims of this crime, the Minister responded: “I am not sure that it would be appropriate at a ministerial level to take that sort of action.”

This is far from the attitude the Minister should have when he is part of a government that seems incapable of solving the increasing crime problem in Canberra. The reality is, Minister Gentleman and the Barr government is overseeing a police force that is being deprived of the necessary resources to meet a growing demand for their services.

Since 2011-12, funding for ACT Policing has increased by just five per cent, while in the same period, inflation has gone up eight per cent and Canberra’s population growth has gone up 11.2 per cent. This is a cut to funding in real terms. And crime continues to rise.

Our police force has fallen behind the rest of the country on other metrics. ACT Policing received approximately $393 per capita, which is lower than all other states and the Northern Territory. Furthermore, there are 580 citizens for every frontline police officer in the ACT, a much larger workload than the 450 citizens per frontline officer in NSW or the 432 citizens per frontline officer in Victoria.

The number of full-time equivalent frontline officers is presently at 684, down from a high of 719 only six years ago. A cut of 35 frontline officers. Put simply, the Barr Government continually expects our police to do more with less.

The individuals in our police force do an outstanding job in spite of a 17-year-old government that does not seem to care about them. However, the practice of relying on the good nature of the men in women of our police force to do more with less cannot last. Our police need and deserve much more than what they are getting from this government.

Perhaps if the Labor-Greens government wasn’t signing off on scandalous multimillion dollar land deals that have no benefit to the Canberra community, then ACT Policing might get the backing it desperately needs.

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15 Responses to Canberra’s police need more backing from the government to tackle crime
Lerenor Lerenor 7:34 am 25 Apr 18

The Canberra liberals: a policeman in every home! I’m only half joking. Really sick of the cynical resorts to politics of fear from the libs, give us something positive, an alternative to actually believe in! I’m sure the liberal platform is capable of offering such a thing, but I have yet to see it.

Narcobear Narcobear 9:37 pm 24 Apr 18

if we hadn’t criminalised everything, there would be fewer criminals to be policed…

JC JC 8:28 pm 24 Apr 18

So what is your solution?

Articles like this do nothing to persuade me to vote Liberal. Present as an alternative government rather than an opposition and you might have a chance.

nealg nealg 4:59 pm 24 Apr 18

Julia, is this your own personal opinion or an official Liberal Party submission?

A_Cog A_Cog 4:21 pm 24 Apr 18

The ACT Police are the worst police force in the nation at solving crimes. The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (ROGS) shows this every time. Read my previous posts. Yes Barr has hacked away at the policing budget, yes the jail is the worst in the nation with the highest recidivism rate, yes mental health and addiction supports in the ACT are the lowest per capita nationally, and yes, public housing, public transport and public health in the ACT has been hollowed out to pay for the tram.

But the ACT Police are the worst in the entire nation at applying standard methodologies that every other police force apply, and we get shockingly poor results here.

Maybe the solution is paying NSW Police instead of the AFP. It could not be worse.

Tom Porter Tom Porter 4:02 pm 24 Apr 18

Guilia Jones, maybe look at the reasons behind the increases in robbery rates. The same club has been robbed several times but have not read of the parent organisation increasing security of premises and staff. Increased poverty due to Federal govt. policies making people resort to crime to survive. What are your remedies? Negotiate with the AFP to reduce the cost they extort from the ACT taxpayer.

Joel Aken Joel Aken 12:13 pm 24 Apr 18

So what's the ACT Liberals plan to resolve this exactly? Whine about light rail some more? So long as Guilia Jones and her party are devoid of ideas they'll remain in opposition.

Marina Simoncini Marina Simoncini 10:17 am 24 Apr 18


Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 9:22 am 24 Apr 18

Sadly the police run around after them...but the courts decide what to do with them....

Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 9:00 am 24 Apr 18

What are the facts of crime in the ACT?

Jasmina Atelj Jasmina Atelj 8:28 am 24 Apr 18

Just end the catastrophic policy failure that is the war on drugs and you will free up all the police you need.

    Rod Carter Rod Carter 4:57 pm 24 Apr 18

    Speaking as a former member of the AFP, the fact is that ACT is in a dire position. The Stations are short of staff and the troops are getting burnt out. ACTP morale is at an all time low. I recently spoke to a fomer Woden Sergeant recently. He estimated the first hour of a normal sift was contacting members to come in on overtime simply to get a second car on the road. The accepted view within ACTP is they estimate they requireup 200 more Police just forthe current workload. And despite what Mick Gentlemen would hve yo believe, ACTP cannot simply pull members out of AFP National. Weasel words.

    Jasmina Atelj Jasmina Atelj 6:16 pm 24 Apr 18

    Thanks Rod Carter great to get an insight from one who knows.

    Rod Carter Rod Carter 11:15 pm 24 Apr 18

    More to think about. If a Police Station struggles to get 2 GD cars on the road,when an incident such as an assault or a Domestic Violence report comes in, both cars will attend, or at the least the second will be close. So, if you are a member of the public in another suburb reporting another seious incident....well good luck with that. I was at a meeting last Friday and one of the still operational members had a text message requesting members for 10 overtime shifts for that night alone. A classic example of what is not happening is the previously normal "it's the end of the month and we need to get RBT stats up, so lets set up on Drakeford Drive at Isabella Plains so we can get lots of tests with no Positive readings".

    Jasmina Atelj Jasmina Atelj 4:28 am 25 Apr 18

    Yes too much emphasis on revenue collection and not enough on the protection of the vulnerable. Governments to blame not the police. Similar story with the war on drugs. If drugs weren't illegal the police could be freed up to protect and serve.

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