Queensland police face big changes ahead
CAIRNS is likely to experience one of the biggest upheavals in the state after sweeping changes to the Queensland Police Service announced yesterday.
Commissioner Ian Stewart confirmed reports the Far North would be absorbed into a super Northern region, stretching from Ayr to the tip of the Torres Strait and west to the Northern Territory border an area about the size of France or Spain.
The Far Northern region will be axed, instead becoming a district in the new Northern region, and the regional headquarters based in the city will be shut down, with operations centralised in Townsville.
Every commissioned officer in the state, those ranked inspector or above, will be able to apply for voluntary redundancy, while 212 staff jobs will go.
However, Mr Stewart said there would be no overall drop in the number of police, with a renewed focus and additional positions added to the frontline.
The QPS is yet to confirm how many commissioned officer and staff positions will go in the Far North, although Mr Stewart used the region as a prime example of where changes will be most felt. "This is a massive change in terms of our district offices," he said.
"For instance, you have a district office at Cairns and how that's affected on the basis that the regional office will disappear and what we do with the number of commissioned officers in that area."
"This is where we have the difficulty where people will not want to move, they're residents, and how we equitably manage a situation where we might have five positions for comdhmissioned officers and we might have eight commissioned officers, so we need to manage that in a sensitive way and a fair way," Mr Stewart said.
The assistant commissioner position in the region has not been filled following the departure of Katarina Carroll in October, with Chief Supt Paul Taylor acting in the role.
That position will be scrapped and region overseen by an assistant commissioner based in Townsville, with a chief superintendent stationed in the Far North.
Mr Stewart said an inspector would be relocated to the Torres Strait and task forces, such as Cairns-based Operation Escalate, would be used more often.
In latest QPS statistics the Far Northern region, which takes in Cairns and Cape York, Mareeba and Innisfail districts, has 788 officers and 204 staff in an area of about 354,600sq km.
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