The Community Action Party believes that the ACT Government and our communities have a central role to play in making the community safer.
Although the ACT has a lower crime rate than most big Australian cities, it is facing some worrying trends, such as binge drinking, methamphetamine use, drink spiking, street attacks and other violent crimes.
The Party will work with our communities and education and law enforcement agencies to try to improve law and order. Crime flourishes where people are disconnected, uninvolved, feel no ownership and do not believe that the law is for them. The Party will help to reconnect people who have been involved in crime or disaffected by recent Government policy. The community needs to have an effective voice in the way the ACT is policed.
The Party will seek to ensure the ACT better utilise its police resources through improved consultation and co-operation between the police and the ACT community. Police responsiveness should be improved.
An increase in police numbers is part of the solution, as is simplification of reporting procedures, but more important the Party believes is decentralisation of police services. Police visibility is a clear and highly effective tool in deterring crime. This will be achieved through increased regular community patrols.
The Party sees crime prevention as a community task.
The Party will ensure that resources are made available to prevent crime by educating young people to keep out of trouble. Effective crime prevention strategies include government and police support of 'neighbourhood watch', public education to make homes more secure, a harm minimisation approach to drug and alcohol use (the cause of most crime), and working with youth at risk to prevent them from falling into criminal behaviour.
The Party supports greater use of diversionary programs and restorative justice to reduce criminal behaviour.
The Party supports initiatives that help to prevent violence, crime and self-harm in the ACT Indigenous community.
The Party will end automatic gaol time for fine defaulters and replace it with community service appropriate for the type of crime.
The Party believes that better planned community infrastructure and enhanced social inclusion help to prevent crime.
The Party , in consultation with the social welfare and legal communities, will develop strategies to address domestic violence, including the greater provision of investigatory counselling services.
The Party supports granting the Police the power to apply for interim apprehended violence orders when they attend a domestic incident, if they consider it necessary to protect the victim.
The Party supports an increase in the number of Indigenous liaison officers within the ACT legal system.
The Party will strengthen the administrative processes in domestic violence situations to enable the Magistrates Court to make it lawful for a respondent to an urgent domestic violence order to be fitted with a global positioning system tracking device and the applicant notified when the respondent is in the local vicinity.
The Party will strengthen the laws and regulations relating to workplace bullying and harassment by making them a criminal offence and perpetrators also liable to civil litigation as another remedy and deterrent.
The Party did not support the construction of the Alexander Maconochie Centre; the ACT's prison. Thus far it has failed to meet the high standards of care and rehabilitation of local offenders that its proponents confidently asserted, but has met our expectations of significant cost overruns. The per capita cost of maintaining prisoners is currently nearly double that in NSW prisons.
The ACT Government must ensure that the prison observes international best practice to encourage personal growth and facilitate re-integration of detainees back into the community. It should take advantage of the rehabilitation options that a local gaol provides, including weekend detention, family support, and assisted return to society.
The Party also supports establishing a forensic psychiatric facility within the prison.
If the ACT Government is unable to manage the prison in a cost-effective manner, it should explore the possibility of running the new prison in cooperation with the NSW Government.