Motor vehicle theft went up and police response times to life-threatening incidents blew out in the latest data presented to the ACT government in ACT Policing's 2020-21 annual report.
ACT police achieved a 73 per cent success rate in performance outcomes and a 62 per cent success rate in achieving its stipulated outcomes during 2020-21 in what Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan described as a "challenging and unprecedented year".
"It has been a busy year, both professionally and personally, for all our members and I am conscious of the increasing demands being placed upon my officers," Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said.
A third dedicated psychologist has joined ACT Policing's cohort "in recognition of of the high likelihood of potential exposure to trauma".
Unlike other states and territories, the ACT has a contracted community police service from the ranks of the Australian Federal Police, with a monthly bill presented to the ACT's Justice and Community Services directorate. Last year the federal police were paid $187 million to provide this service.
Under pre-determined performance targets set for the local police force, offence numbers against a person fell under the 800 per 100,000 people target by 2.9 per cent, while offences declined in real terms across the ACT by 3.9 per cent over the reporting year.
Homicide and related offences rose by 150 per cent while all other offence rates fell.
While family violence-related assaults decreased by 9.6 per cent over the 2020-21 financial year, the long-term trend over the past decade has seen this type of violence climb by 47.1 per cent.
One of the big concerns highlighted by the report was the slowed response to priority-one life-threatening incidents.
This response time fell to 77.5 per cent of cases attended within 10 minutes, the worst outcome in six years, well under the 80 per cent benchmark, and down from 86.5 per cent the previous year. However, time targets in responding to both priority two and three incidents were easily achieved.
Where ACT police traditionally excels is in the perceptions of public safety and the most recent reporting year continued with that positive trend, with Canberra people above the national average in feeling safer at home at night, when catching public transport and other vulnerable situations.
Property offence targets were easily met by police, despite Canberra's rapidly rising population.
In the past financial year there were 16,789 property offences - such as robbery, shoplifting and burglary - reported to police, down from 18,045 the previous year.
Going against that trend is motor vehicle theft, which has risen every year in the ACT over the past three reporting years, from 1243 in 2018-19, to 1372 in the latest report. The ACT has long disbanded its dedicated motor team, which previously focused on this type of theft.
The clear-up rate for offences had improved, with a clearance rate of 16.1 per cent across all property offences.
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