The GCC has launched an ACT Assembly petition, sponsored by Yerrabi MLA Michael Pettersson, asking for the ACT Government to take immediate action to increase the number of police in the Gungahlin district and upgrade and expand the Gungahlin Police Station. Click the button below to sign!SIGN THE PETITION
Reason for this petition
The ACT has the lowest police-to-population ratio in Australia. For a city experiencing significant growth, the number and resources of police are not growing with it. The number of operational police per 100,000 people in 2021 was the lowest in the country (219). This has resulted in a reduced capacity to meet the needs of the Gungahlin community.
In the ACT, Gungahlin is the fastest-growing district, with an estimated population of 87,550 according to the 2021 census and as high as 100,000 according to the post-COVID estimates. As a diverse and multicultural community, Gungahlin poses many challenges to ACT Policing, which has to be cognisant of many cultural, religious, and ethnical factors that are impacting the community and how it interacts. The police are required to perform more tasks with less resources. In addition to being police officers and upholding the law when attending incidents, police officers are required to act as ad hoc counsellors, mental health responders, youth workers, and first aiders..
In Gungahlin patrol, the station has six team, structured to consist of a Sergeant and eight team members each (9 in total). However, due to shortages and the impacts of low resourcing teams consistently operate at a lower capacity, consisting of a Sergeant and four to five members. This reduced capacity allows for a maximum of two patrol vehicles per shift to service the entire population. A significant portion of the shift response if responding to incidents such as sudden deaths, suicides, property crime offences, family and domestic violence.
All other stations in the ACT have six teams consisting of a Sergeant and nine members on their teams (10 in total). This discrepancy is not isolated when it comes to Policing in the Gungahlin District. The following key aspects also exist:
- The Gungahlin Police Station is the smallest and most under-resourced of all police stations. The facilities are inadequate and do not allow for growth in police numbers. Desks and equipment are lacking to accommodate a sustained increase in police numbers.
- In addition, the building facility is not conducive to providing privacy to victims of crime, witnesses, or persons in custody who are conveyed to the station due to no sufficient dedicated areas within the building, coupled with an open area carpark at the rear of the building, which is flanked by apartment buildings.
- No dedicated areas, meeting rooms, dining areas, or storage facilities exist to allow members to conduct business in a professional or safe manner.
- There are often water leaks in the station roofing during periods of heavy rain, it is not adequately heated or cooled in the winter/summer months, and it lacks a victim support space and an additional interview room facilities.
- Members are overworked, sick leave incidents have increased, and members are not taking advantage of their annual leave due to a shortage of personnel within their team and station.
As a result, police officers are subjected to an additional burden of stress, welfare issues, leave, court and training requirements, backfilling, and special events, including guest of government meetings, protests, COVID responses, and other annual events, teams are rarely fully staffed. In Gungahlin, the community is dissatisfied with the low resource levels to deal with juvenile and recidivist offending, commercial burglaries, stolen vehicles, etc., and this fatigue may have contributed to the decline in the satisfaction rating.
Request the assembly to call on the ACT Government to:
- Provide an improved new office space within six months of replacing the smallest and least equipped police station in Gungahlin
- Increase the number of police officers to meet operational needs in the ACT’s budget for 2023-24
- Develop and commit to a timeline for increasing ACT policing resources to meet the demands of the growing Gungahlin community
- Ensure that a proper community consultation procedure is followed in order to mitigate the problem