More police needed for Bundaberg
THE Bundaberg region has fewer police officers per person than Gladstone, Rockhampton, Gympie or Maryborough, according to statistics released by the State Government.
The figures show Bundaberg has one police officer for every 677 residents while Gladstone, Rockhampton and Gympie have ratios of less than 1:500.
Police Union president Ian Leavers said these figures showed how stretched police in Queensland had become.
“Police in the North Coast Region, which has particularly poor ratios, are telling me that officer safety is being jeopardised because of a lack of police back-up on the road,” Mr Leavers said. “In a decentralised state such as ours, more police are always needed than in smaller condensed states.”
Mr Leavers said the figures were evidence that the State Government needed to immediately increase police recruiting numbers, to the level they were at under Peter Beattie.
“The Beattie Government employed 300 new police each year and Anna Bligh has reduced this figure to only 200,” he said.
Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg police had an excellent reputation all over Queensland, but they needed support to maintain their high standards.
“We have to have proper police numbers, not just to improve the police-to-public ratio, but to meet community expectations,” Mr Dempsey said. “I commend Bundaberg district police for the reduction in crime here over the years, but the State Government can't sit on its hands and be blasé — it needs to make sure their work is not taken for granted.”
Mr Dempsey, a former policeman, said the statistics clearly showed more officers were needed in the region. “The role of policing has changed. Police are now bombarded with paperwork, taking them away from the frontline work.”
He said as criminals were becoming more technology-savvy, officers needed the government's full support to keep up with policing techniques.
“The government needs to show it supports the role of police within our community.”