The Queensland Law Society has applauded the state government’s commitment to fund a new independent body which will be used to collect criminal statistics.
The state government recently announced it would commit $2.7 million to the cause.
QLS president Christine Smyth said that the news has been well received, as the legal body had campaigned strongly for the funding of the proposed Crime Statistics and Research Unit (CSRU) and was a feature of QLS’ 2015 Call to Parties document.
“We congratulate the government on its commitment to create a new and independent criminal statistics research unit,” Ms Smyth said on the matter.
“QLS had advocated strongly for the creation of this body and was a feature of our submission to the Parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee.”
Ms Smyth’s comments follow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath’s announcement that funding had been budgeted this financial year to establish the CSRU in the independent statutory office of the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office.
“Understanding crime statistics, offending behaviour and the impact of policies and programs on offending behaviour is key to developing effective policy,” Ms D’Ath said.
“The CSRU must be independent and transparent in order to have the trust and confidence of the Queensland public.
Commenting further on the issue, Ms Smyth said it was hoped the CSRU would be analogous to the NSW Bureau of Crime and Statistics Research.
“We hope the CSRU will produce and provide reliable data and analysis which will allow policy makers and legislators to employ evidenced-based policymaking when forming policy and legislation,” Ms Smyth said.
“It is envisaged that this will curtail reactionary policy or ‘policy on the run’ that is developed as a result of capricious and often unreliable media coverage of heinous crimes.
“A perfect example was the swift introduction of unworkable and harsh anti-association legislation enacted as a knee-jerk response to a spike in so-called bikie related crimes several years ago.
“We would expect data collected by the CSRU will prevent similar events as this occurring in the future.”