A new police station and increased police resources for Gungahlin District

A new police station and increased police resources for Gungahlin District
Residents of ACT
Sponsoring member:
Pettersson, Michael
No. of Signatures:
Posting Date:
Closing Date:
Referred to Minister:
Responded to:
Information about the Principal Petitioner is available through the sponsoring Member of the Legislative Assembly's office
TO: The Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly
Reason for this Petition

Gungahlin is the fastest-growing district in the ACT, with an estimated population of 87,550 according to the 2021 census and as high as 100,000 after COVID. Gungahlin poses many challenges to ACT Policing, which has to be cognisant of many cultural, religious, and ethnic factors that are impacting the community and how it interacts. With fewer resources, the police are also required to act as ad-hoc counsellors, mental health responders, youth workers, and first aiders.

A Sergeant and eight team members make up each patrol team in Gungahlin. It is common for teams to operate at a lower capacity due to shortages and a lack of resources, consisting of a Sergeant and 4 to 5 members. With this reduced capacity, only two patrol vehicles can be deployed per shift. The majority of shift responses are to sudden deaths, suicides, property crimes, 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 Gungahlin. Consequently, police officers are overwhelmed with stress, welfare issues, leave, court and training requirements, backfilling, and special events, such as government guests, protests, COVID responses, and other events. This means teams are rarely fully staffed. The community in Gungahlin is dissatisfied with the low resource levels to deal with juvenile and recidivist offending, commercial burglaries, stolen vehicles, etc., and that may have contributed to the decline in satisfaction.

Requested Actions

Your petitioners, therefore, request the Assembly to call on the ACT Government to:
1. Provide an improved new office space within six months with adequate facilities, allowing for an increase in police numbers. Currently, desks and equipment are insufficient to accommodate a sustained increase in police numbers.

• Provide a building facility that is conducive to providing privacy to victims of crime, witnesses, or persons in custody who are conveyed to the police station due to the lack of sufficient dedicated areas within the building, as well as an open parking lot at the rear of the building, flanked by apartments.

• Provide dedicated meeting rooms, dining areas, and storage facilities to enable members to conduct business in a professional and safe environment.

• Provide a facility that does not leak during periods of heavy rainfall, as the current facility is not adequately heated or cooled in winter and summer, and it is lacking a victim support space and additional interview rooms.

2. Increase the number of police officers in the ACT's budget for 2023–24 to meet operational needs as the ACT has the lowest police-to-population ratio in the country.

3. Develop and commit to a timeline for increasing ACT policing resources to meet the demands of the growing Gungahlin community.

4. Ensure that a proper community consultation procedure is followed in order to mitigate the problem.