Des Hansson.
Des Hansson.

Commissioner target of tirade

FRASER Coast police numbers are at the centre of a fiery tirade against commissioner Bob Atkinson in a union article set to be released in the coming weeks.

An exclusive preview of the article, penned by North Coast Region union representative Des Hansson for the next edition of the Queensland Police Journal, was made available to the Chronicle yesterday.

In it, Mr Hansson accuses the commissioner of lying about local police numbers and slams his reported plan to take privileges away from the already overworked officers.

For the past three months the Chronicle has been running a campaign to get more police officers to the region.

The commissioner, along with Police Minister Neil Roberts, has always maintained staffing levels were adequate and has sent several media responses and letters to the editor to that effect.

In the soon-to-be-published article Mr Hansson says he can’t believe Mr Atkinson “had the gall” to send his most recent press release which appeared in the Chronicle three weeks ago.

Mr Atkinson said the 184 police officers currently assigned to the Maryborough Police District, which includes Hervey Bay, met with standards.

He also said the current police to population ratio in the district was about 596 officers per 100,000 people which ranked the Fraser Coast in the mid-range of districts in Queensland.

Mr Hansson says “nothing could be further from the truth”.

“Hervey Bay can have a population of anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000 with one crew (sometimes made up of three to four officers per shift) to manage it,” Mr Hansson said.

“It’s a tribute to all our NCR troops who keep on showing up for work against those odds which are quite commonplace from Redcliffe to Bundy and out west to Kingaroy.”

For years many takeaway stores, including McDonald’s, have been known to offer discounts to officers in appreciation of their efforts.

Mr Hansson is furious about Mr Atkinson’s reported plans to enforce new rules which will prevent first-response officers from accepting any free or discounted meals.

In the article Mr Hansson jokes that McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald could even be brought in to catch hungry officers out.

A request was sent to Mr Atkinson who failed to respond before deadline.