When being robbed in Canberra, pray the burglars don’t make off with your laptop because emailing the cops might prove problematic, not that anyone gives a monkey’s when you do. It’s another “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.
YOU’RE in trouble, you call and the police come, right?
Well, no, you email them and they might not, according to the ACT chief police officer Neil Gaughan and our plodding Police Minister Mick Gentleman.
There was public uproar this past week at the news from chief Gaughan that “victims of burglary may not get a visit from police, with officers focusing their attention on more serious crimes”.
And there was Mick haplessly trying to tell us it’s important for the community to have a range of ways to report crime and agreeing that extending to online reporting will help Canberrans.
No, it isn’t and no, it won’t.
The Minister says: “ACT Policing is not changing how they respond to crime and will continue to keep our community safe.”
Yes, they are and no, they won’t.
Incredibly, the police seem to have raised the white flag on property crime with Gaughan saying on radio: “Resources are tight, as they are in every sector, so we find this is going to be more efficient.
“We will be less responsive to some of the property crimes than we have been in the past.”
Shadow police minister Jeremy Hanson says the idea of reporting burglary online sends a green light to criminals who will know a certain level of crime won’t receive a visit from police.
“It seems like now victims of burglary and other property crime will lodge a report online, and then have to wait and see if police will turn up. There doesn’t even seem to be a system to let them know if police will attend or not,” he says, blaming it all on too few police.
“CityNews” columnist Robert Macklin was fuming at the news. He and wife Wendy were robbed on Good Friday as they slept.
Here’s something of what he wrote in “CityNews” in April:
“We’ve been robbed.”
I’m not sure who spoke the words. They were lost in a swelling landslide of horror – a few stinging rocks of realisation becoming painful boulders as they morphed into images of intruders, shadows by the bed. It felt like an endless thumping on that precious psychic membrane that protects our privacy, our safety from the traffic’s roar and the fearsome crowds. “We’d better call the police.”
I reached for the mobile that was no longer there.
The landline on the kitchen bench [is] now the last lifeline. I grabbed it and dialled 000, asked for “Police” and when I said, “burglary” the voice gave me the Canberra number – 131444. A man answered; I related what detail I could; the police would “attend” the scene asap, he said.
This week Macklin wrote to me saying: “As one who has been the victim of mere ‘property’ crime, I’m outraged by the decision to not even bother for the police to attend break-ins to Canberra properties.
“And we should just inform the cops by email (if we haven’t been stripped of our phones and computers). Is this what I’m paying my property rates for?”
NOT picking on anyone, in fact I have sympathy for the poor sods trying to mow the world right against amazing growth conditions, fuelled by the record rainfall in November.
But meandering the neglected boulevards of Mitchell, I came across this weederama on what passes as pavement in this part of town. Our gardening columnist Jackie Warburton told me weeds are just plants in the wrong place…. “and the stupid urban meadow (weed fest) down Northbourne. Geeze, don’t get me started”. Thanks, Jackie!
THE federal member for the southern Canberra seat of Bean Dave Smith clearly loves Christmas (and doubtless, the prospect of a happy new year re-election). Not so all his constituents, one of whom wrote in irritation to say so far she’s had three of his Christmas calendar cards in her mailbox.
They feature a family photo, next year’s calendar in a “very small font” and the usual Canberra contact phone numbers, “which everyone should already have on their fridge door”.
Not unreasonably, she says: “Who needs a paper calendar these days when it’s all in electronic devices?
“For me, this card-cum-calendar-cum-phone numbers is thoughtless and an utter waste of taxpayer money as this Christmas message could have been sent by email and would be just as good. It would be paperless at almost no cost to the taxpayer.” Humbug, anyone?
I LOVED the chutzpah of Chamberlains Law Firm. It is up before the Federal Circuit and Family Court on December 14 defending Mitchell Rice under the Fair Work Act.
Its client was dismissed by Queensland Rail, on the basis of having used “a legally prescribed cannabis product to treat his medical conditions of anxiety and insomnia”. It’s one of Australia’s first test cases of a workplace termination due to use of medical cannabis.
The law firm estimates its client’s legal fees to be $100,000 and in its press release thoughtfully included a link to the unemployed Mr Rice’s GoFundMe page.
TREVOR Kennedy, a journalist, businessman, philanthropist and, for a time, Kerry Packer’s right-hand man, died last week. A couple of years ago he engaged the aforementioned Robert Macklin to write his autobiography (out in January).
Macklin, who writes more fully of Kennedy’s passing here, says as a 21-year-old, Trevor left the bright lights of Albany to head east to a job at “The Canberra Times”, working from Mort Street as the industrial roundsman.
Of Canberra, Trevor wrote home: “It is a funny place for girls. You don’t meet them at dances or anything like that as there are precious few public dances.
“You have to meet girls and then take them out, and not just to the movies either, it is essential that you go to dinner first! Taking a girl out in Canberra is extremely expensive. You are dead lucky to escape for anything under a fiver.”
Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and interview program, 2CC, 9am-noon.
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