Po­lice su­per beat to open

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - KEA­GAN EL­DER kea­gan.el­der@news.com.au

A NEW po­lice “su­per beat” will open in the Up­per Ross early next year.

Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said the new Blue­wat­tle Boule­vard po­lice fa­cil­ity, which will house 10 of­fi­cers, would ab­sorb the Kelso and Ras­mussen po­lice beats, which he said were one- of­fi­cer beats.

Mr Harper de­scribed the old Kelso beat as a “donga” and said the new fa­cil­ity would lead to “in­creased cov­er­age ( and) in­creased polic­ing”.

“Sin­gle- of­fi­cer beats were pre­vi­ously part of the com­mu­nity, but the com­mu­nity has outgrown it,” he said.

Townsville Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Kev Gu­teridge pre­vi­ously said the new fa­cil­ity would mean Kelso and Ras­mussen “ab­so­lutely wouldn’t miss out” on po­lice cov­er­age.

Op­po­si­tion po­lice spokesman Trevor Watts said Townsville was in the midst of a crime wave and called on the State Gov­ern­ment to rule out clo­sures of po­lice beats.

Mr Watts said Townsville’s crime rate was “get­ting out of con­trol” and said the city had re­cently “suf­fered car­jack­ings, a po­lice pur­suit, assaults and stab­bings”.

He cited Queens­land Po­lice Sta­tis­ti­cal Re­view statis­tics that showed an in­crease in se­ri­ous assaults in 2016- 17, ris­ing from 1860 in­ci­dents the year be­fore to 1961.

Mr Watts said there was also an in­crease in un­law­ful use of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, with 1058 in­ci­dents in 2016- 17 com­pared with 891 in 2015- 16.

“Now is the time to go on the front foot to fight crime in Townsville, but com­mu­nity safety is clearly not a pri­or­ity for the La­bor Gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“La­bor cut the po­lice bud­get by $ 44 mil­lion this year, and crime is up. This is no way to an­swer the crime wave in North Queens­land.

“Why on earth the La­bor Gov­ern­ment has cut the bud­get by $ 44.6 mil­lion this year while crime is go­ing up across the state, par­tic­u­larly here in Townsville, makes no sense to me at all.

“The re­al­ity is it doesn’t even need to nec­es­sar­ily be ex­tra money. They just need to re­store the bud­get they had.”


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