Member for Maryborough - Bruce Saunders.
Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Member for Maryborough - Bruce Saunders. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

More police officers for Wide Bay-Burnett region

THE ALP has pledged to increase the number of police personnel by 535, including 50 officers for the Central Region.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said five would be specially-trained domestic and family violence officers with one based in Wide Bay Burnett.

"Part of the roles of domestic and family violence officers includes providing education and training to operational police and helping other government and non-government agencies address domestic violence-related issues," Ms Donaldson said.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the new officers would build on the 55 First Year Constables that had been allocated to the district since the Palaszczuk Government was elected in February 2015.

"People in our community have a right to feel safe and the Palaszczuk Government is committed to making that a reality by boosting resources for key areas of policing such as counter-terrorism, serious organised crime and domestic violence," Mr Saunders said.

Labor candidate for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari praised the Palaszczuk Government for its commitment to properly resourcing police.

"The Palaszczuk Government has also given our hardworking officers more body worn cameras (BWCs), QLiTE tablets and better pay and conditions," Mr Tantari said.

"Frontline officers are getting 5,100 cameras as part of the Palaszczuk Government's $6 million commitment to improve safety equipment for police while 7,500 mobile QLiTE devices are helping solve more crimes, and improve officer and community safety."

An elite counter-terrorism unit with 85 additional officers and specialists to defend the state against the ongoing terrorist threat also will be established.

The Security Counter-Terrorism Command (SCTC) will include a specialist emergency response team based in North Queensland, a dedicated assistant commissioner and 22 world-class terrorism, and security and intelligence specialists to support them.

The SCTC will cost a total of $53.85 million over the next four years and will be in addition to the 30 counter-terrorism and 20 additional police officers funded in the 2017-18 Budget.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the announcement of the SCTC follows the recent commitment of 400 new frontline police, including the new officers for the Central Region. Recruitment will take place over the next four years.

"This is real action by the Palaszczuk Government which has worked closely with the Police Commissioner to determine how many officers are needed in each region to ensure community safety," he said.

"This is in direct contrast to an LNP announcement that short-changes police with scratchy details and dubious costings.''

The commitment of 400 new police is in addition to the more than 300 officers the government had added since its election in 2015, taking the total Queensland Police Service to nearly 12,000 full-time equivalent officers.

"We will boost resources for key areas of policing such as counter-terrorism, serious organised crime and domestic violence," Mr Ryan said.

"We have allocated record budgets for the QPS from $2.117 billion in 2015-16 in our first Budget to $2.37 billion in the State Budget in June."

Fifty officers will join the Central Region, which includes Wide Bay Burnett, over the next four years under a re-elected Palaszczuk Government.

The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $33 million for an extra 30 police to join the counter-terrorism team and 20 police for regional hotspots and committed $46.7 million over three years for a world-class use of force, weapons and counter-terrorism facility at Wacol in the last State Budget.

Other key investments the Palaszczuk Government has already made include:

  • Increased funding of $39.1 million over four years to better equip police to tackle serious and organised crime across the state, including financial crimes, firearms offences, drug crimes, child exploitation rings, cybercrime, and criminal networks and organised crime syndicates. This funding was in addition to a $4.5 million commitment for a statewide blitz on child exploitation material.
  • Making the renowned Taskforce Maxima into a permanent squad as part of the Organised Crime and Gangs Group (OCGG), armed with more resources and tough new laws to continue its fight against Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OCMG) and other organised crime groups.

The Palaszczuk Government has also allocated $1.75 million funding over four years to help Crime Stoppers continue its crime-solving partnership with the community.