Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 I turn to my police portfolio. Since June 1985, 72 junior police rangers have been recruited, with a further 36 to be recruited by June 1987. Rangers are being trained in public safety, conservation and leadership skills so that they can assist other youth. Assistance with the Police and Citizens Youth Club is continuing. The club will move to the ~errimah Complex in 1987 and share the Police Training Centre. The school-based community policing program is an unqualified success, with 7 cbnstab1es located now throughout NT secQ~dary schools and plans for all schools to have a constable by early 1988. Mr Ede: All schools? Mr HATTON: All secondary schools. Provision wa~ made in this year's Northern Territory budget for the expansion of the program and 10 new positions have been approved in the Po1ic~ Department, which will double the program size. The success of thi s program, whi ch is the fi rst of its ki nd in Aus tra 1 i a, has attracted much interest interstate. In fact, New South Wales sent a team to the Territory to look at the program to see if it could be copied in that state. Closely aligned to the Police in Schools Program is the Safety House Scheme. This scheme provides a network of safe refuges for children en route to and from school. The network is based around particular primary schools. Currently, 3 schemes are operating in Darwin and 1 in Alice Springs. A scheme is planned for Malak in 1987. An important new initiative is the establishment of, and participation in, the national fingerprint computer system. In the budget, $1.lm was set aside for this system. A national conference hosted in Darwin earlier this year by the police included discussions on this system. It will be introduced throughout all the states and territories of Australia and allows an automatic fingerprint reader to scan 10 fingerprint cards in 25 seconds, a process which would take a couple of hours to perform manually. A latent fingerprint reader at the scene of a crime collects pri nts for input to the computer. Any parameters about the criminal are also fed into the computer to hasten the search and response time. The computer provides a list of possible suspects for the police to follow up. This takes only hours whereas it could take 4 to 5 days to do it manually. I had an opportunity to see the national Computerised Fingerprint Bureau at Parramatta in. Sydney. It is recognised by police forces as the single most important breakthrough in criminal investigation made during this century. Whilst I was there, it was explained to me how great a difference this can make in the handling of cases. Very few people realise that, unless suspects have been detected, it is virtually impossible to identify a fingerprint by the manual system because to search through the some 15 million fingerprints on file in Australia for 1 set of prints would take years. This can now be done in a matter of days through the fingerprint computer system. Shortly before I was there, the body of a murdered person was found in Sydney. The person was totally unidentifiable. The body was clothed in shorts and a shirt and there was no means of identification. The deceased person was identified very quickly through the fingerprints. The parent of the youth was informed. The parent had not realised that the youth was missing and asked where his car was. A description of the car was obtained and it was tracked down. Only 1 fingerprint was found on that car but, by putting that through the computer bureau, the murderer was apprehended successfully. That was done in a matter of 2 weeks from the time the body was discovered. Almost certainly that crime would have remained unsolved had it not been for that fingerprint identification. 815