30 New Police as part of a Comprehensive Plan for Community Safety

In 2013 Labor announced that $15.36 million was being cut from ACT Policing’s budget over four years[1] including imposing an efficiency dividend from each year of the policing budget.[2]

The Canberra Liberals are determined to ensure that ACT Policing has sufficient sworn officers to deal with family domestic violence[3], rise in property crime[4], the scourge of ice[5], aggression and violence, outlaw motorcycle gang activity[6], and with Canberra’s population growth.

We are committed to giving our front line officers the tools and support to do their job for all Canberrans.

First and foremost, the Canberra Liberals will replace the funding cut from ACT Policing.

Frontline police and the Australian Federal Police Association have called for tasers to be issued to all trained sworn ACT police officers.[7] This is a policy the Canberra Liberals have lead, and would continue to implement.

There are well documented incidents of unprovoked one punch attacks on people in public places around Australia. These attacks have caused public outrage. It should be possible to safely enjoy a simple night out in Canberra without wondering if someone will suddenly strike you from behind, leaving you stretched out on the ground, insensible to what’s occurred and, at worst, brain-damaged or dead.[8]

That is why Jeremy Hanson announced new legislation to deal with one-punch attacks that places the responsibility on the attacker and gives justice to victims.

Canberra is not immune from the scourge of domestic violence. That is why the Canberra Liberals called for a bi-partisan round table on the topic, which was subsequently conducted. While many good outcomes arose from those meetings, there is still more to be done. Canberra needs a dedicated magistrate to deal with family violence cases that will pave the way for a more consistence approach to family violence cases. A Canberra Liberals Government will establish this position, as well as the solutions identified to effectively deal with domestic violence.

In recent times, Canberra has unfortunately become a haven for a certain element of criminal activity, since our laws on organized crime became out of step with other states, particularly NSW. Anti-consorting laws in other states have contributed to the ACT becoming a meeting venue for outlaw motorcycle gangs.[9] Police have information to suggest the ACT has become an attractive location for the holding of such meetings due to the absence of specific legislation in the ACT preventing the association of persons of the type typically found to be members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.[10]

Labor has rejected laws to stop this behavior, then temporarily supported them, then delayed them. It is simply unacceptable to make the ACT the residence of choice for organized crime, and the Canberra Liberals will take steps to protect our community.

Together, the package from the Canberra Liberals provides a comprehensive solution for a safer Canberra.

The Canberra Liberals solution:

  • Provide $13 million to ACT Policing for 30 additional police.
  • Issue tasers for all front line police officers;
  • Introduce tougher penalties for assaults on police;
  • Introduce legislation for Cowards Punch Offences;
  • Introduce stronger Outlaw Motorcycle Criminal Gangs Legislation;
  • Establish a specific Domestic Violence Court; and
  • Establish an ACT Independent Commission Against Corruption.

NOTES

[1] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/job-fears-as-police-cop-15-million-cut-20130606-2nte2.html

[2] Legislative Assembly for the ACT 2012–2013–2014–2015 Minutes of proceedings no. 101 Wednesday  page 1116; ACT Policing Annual Report 2014-15 – General Savings Measure (Page 36)

[3] The Canberra Times article dated October 8, 2015 titled “Domestic violence teams formed in ACT to help police address incidents.”

[4] ACT Policing Annual Report 2014-15 – Performances Measures (Page 12) -Table B.2.4: Offences against property type 2013-14 to 2014-15. This report indicates a rise of approximately 8% in property offenses in the ACT

[5] http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2015/week05/1431.htm  (Page 1431)

[6] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-police-taskforce-to-crack-down-on-bikie-gangs-20140801-zza94.html

[7] Canberra Liberals call for Tasers for ACT Police  Canberra times October 29 2014

[8] http://www.theage.com.au/comment/king-hits-doing-nothing-is-not-an-option-20160115-gm6nxd.html

[9] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/police-say-act-is-now-attractive-bikie-meeting-place-as-rebels-converge-20150625-ghxtmr.html

[10] http://citynews.com.au/2015/rebels-converging-on-canberra-this-weekend/