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Police Numbers – Smyth earns his Keep

By cranky - 29 April 2008 70

That bastion of local news and opinion, the Chronicle, has an article reporting that the sworn (real) Police numbers in the ACT are being fudged by Sonic and Co.

Smyth has uncovered figures showing our numbers of sworn Police per 100,00 is around the 180 mark. This number has stayed fairly constant for the last few years.

A quick Google shows we are seriously lagging behind the States in this equation.

The Australian average seems to be a bit over 210/100K, with WA up in the vicinity of 240.

We are apparently paying for about 540 officers. Based on Australian figures we should have about 730 officers (pop. 350k). Split the diference and we are looking at about 630 – we do have a very concentrated population.

I can only dream of Police numbers increasing by 20/30 per 100K locally, or about 100 real, on the street, sworn officers. Much as I hate to admit it, Smyth probably has a point.

What’s Your opinion?

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70 Responses to
Police Numbers – Smyth earns his Keep
sepi 4:56 pm 30 Apr 08


Noone in this thread has said police are corrupt or lazy.

What we have said is that There Are Not Enough OF Them.

So when you ring them, unless you are being murdered, they are not interested, and often rude about it.

And police commenting on here have basically said that if we only knew of the hideous things going on in Canberra that police have to deal with, we wouldn’t expect them to deal with our noisy neighbours/smashed up windows/grafiti/burglaries/car accidents etc.

When Canberra police have to close stations due to staff shortages, and tell a man stuck in an office which is being broken into that insurance will take care of the costs, you know there is a problem.

ant 4:08 pm 30 Apr 08

Quite simply, I don’t have any positive experiences with police to relate. I’m old, boring and law-abiding, and I find them completely irrelevant. Let’s see, a few experiences that spring to mind:

*delightful neighbours held a party, adn at one point around 11pm, poured oil on the road outside, and conducted burn-outs on it. Rang the police (this was on a sharp corner, btw, first car to hit that oil pool was going to end up in the hedge). Policeman who answered, after I’d outlined the problem, snarled “and what do you expect me to do about it?”.

*One morning just after we’d opened our Civic office for customers, a man in plain clothes stalked in, marched up to me, demanded “do you work here”? and when I said yes, he shoved this police-badge-thing literally 4 inches from my eyes, and demanded to know why I hadn’t reported someone vandalising the phone box outside, as it “must have just happened”. I was pretty stunned, and said that I entered through the back door and hadn’t noticed anyone vandalising a phone box. Then one of my staff said she’d arrived at 8am and had noticed the phone box had been vandalised. The bloke glared at her and marched out in silence.

*The time I noticed two guys checking every car in the Rex all-day carpark, looking for change, rang the cops, waited half an hour and they never showed up.

*The numerous times over the years I’ve been tailgated along Fairbairn in Campbell by police cars for the heinous crime of doing the speed limit.

*The time my wallett was stolen from my car parked inside the car shed at the back of our house, we found the guys walking around down teh back (seeing if my keys would open any sheds), their cars were concealed at our back gate with a kid evidently acting as lookout, we got descriptions of them, got their regos, but the cops refused to do anything, even go visit them, becuase the evidence was “circumstantial”. Our place ahs been turned over many times over the years, because these crims know, they’ll get away with it and not even get a “we’re watching you” visit from the police.

These are just the things that have sprung to mind right now. I’m sure people who join want to do the right thing, but plainly, the right thing is not being done on a regular basis.

AG Canberra 3:32 pm 30 Apr 08

The problem is Canberra policing is now being ruled by accountants and not the residents of Canberra.

If we, as the payers for the police service, want extra police we should get them.

If I ring for assistance I expect the Mr Plod to turn up sharpish – not two hours later when the threat has disappeared with no hope of tracking him down. If we expect those hoons doing burnouts to be caught we expect to see police driving around looking for them. If we want kids to think twice about shoplifting we expect to see police at the shops.

Our expectations have not matched the level of service for a number of years – and this is down to the bean counters. I would much prefer to have to pay for more boot leather and car rubber as they “patrol” than to have them spending all shift stretched to the limit.

Spideydog 3:00 pm 30 Apr 08

Policing is one of the most thankless, stressfull jobs you can find. Fools like some people (not getting personal) here get on every chance they get to bash “Policing” with crap statements of “they do nothing” “there all corrupt” blah blah and don’t offer anything substantial to back thier claim up except for “it happened to a friend of mine”. It’s thankless as it is, it is hard to do the duty and put up with all the crap for the community (that no one else wants to do) if it seems the community doesn’t appreciate it at all. But they do it….

Heres an idea…. apply and join the AFP and show em how it’s done.

If people have legitimate complaints, by all means air them. Policing is not perfect, but is always looking to improve things if needed. But crapping on the entire organisation is not fair, short sighted and selfish. It does nothing for the majority of members that work hard for you 24/7 and do put their lives on the line for all of us.

sepi 1:36 pm 30 Apr 08

But wouldn’t it be nice to have plenty of police, rather than the rock bottom bare minimum?

thetruth 1:30 pm 30 Apr 08

Fact – Canberra has more concentrated population than any of the states. So it would be more relevant to look at city concentrations. Canberra also has a different socio-economic demographic than all of the states.

What I am getting at is Canberra cannot simply be compared with another state because it is very different

123qwe 12:51 pm 30 Apr 08

I remember reading somewhere that the Chief Police Officer in the ACT wants to introduce an on-line system that will show what the cops are up to ‘real time’. Can anyone else recall something similar?

I think the cops here do a good job, but this type of transperancy; showing what they are up to, would be a good thing.

Just how many crack heads are doing home invasions?

Hamilton 12:15 pm 30 Apr 08


Fair call – I know plenty of people who bang on about the cops who haven’t had any experience with them.

As for my China comment I was refering to your Chinese flame attendant comment – if you like the way they operate then move to China, i’m sure the cops are very attentive there, especially when trying to access Riot-ACT in one of the most policed states in the world – freedom of speech in China is as common as……..sorry, gotta go, there are two Chinese guys knocking on my door!

ant 12:02 pm 30 Apr 08

Hamilton said

Hamilton said :

I always love the people who bang on about how they hate the police and how useless they are etc.

I’ve got $100 that says ant would be the first person to dial 000 if some enraged crack head was trying to kick his door in looking for his next fix!!

Maybe ant should move to China? BTW he does, he won’t be able to access this site anymore.

Most people who feel contempt for the police feel this way because they HAVE attempted to get their help in various situations, and have discovered that no help is forthcoming. Our contempt is based on experience.

Your China point is somewhat puzzling. What exactly did you think you were saying?

Wide Boy Jake 11:52 am 30 Apr 08

Actually I like the police situation in Canberra the way it is. The cops here are kept in their proper place, as a result we have a level of freedom unheard of in other places. I remember when I went to Queanbeyan last year and tried to walk up the main street there were more cops than people! On foot, driving up and down – it was like a police state. If anything we should reduce the number of cops in Canberra further. I certainly won’t be voting for anybody pushing that old hag Laura Norder or any promise to increase police numbers and make them more intrusive.

Hamilton 11:19 am 30 Apr 08

I always love the people who bang on about how they hate the police and how useless they are etc.

I’ve got $100 that says ant would be the first person to dial 000 if some enraged crack head was trying to kick his door in looking for his next fix!!

Maybe ant should move to China? BTW he does, he won’t be able to access this site anymore.

sepi 9:06 am 30 Apr 08

Something needs to be done.

If we can’t get more police, then we need to get more assistance to the ones that are there, so they can actually get out on the streets and do police work.

coulnd’t public servants fill out the paperwork?

Also useless tasks like handing out ‘car acccident police report numbers’. – I rang police to see if they can help about a car accident (not our fault, other party is dragging the chain on paying up). They told me that they only hand out a police report number. Beyond that we need to pay for a lawyer. – So what is the point of their police report number, if they aren’t the least bit interested inthe actual details of the accident, or any follow-up action.

Special G 8:48 am 30 Apr 08

@ant – You’ve got your head firmly planted in your butt. The AFP security guards don’t even come into those numbers. You need to get in on the next station open day to see what they really do, or are you one of those Centrelink funded taxpayers that pay all the salaries?

ant 11:07 pm 29 Apr 08

Our police are rubbish. They just don’t work. There’s more fake cops swanning around in AFP bling cars minding buildings than there are real policepersons. We should sub-contract those Flame Attendants, they’d get the job done. Whatever the police think their job is, it’s at odds with the opinion of the taxpayers.

Joe Canberran 11:02 pm 29 Apr 08

I wouldn’t call canberra a concentrated population. No idea of the stats but i’d guess we have very low population density

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