Calls for change as cops stretched beyond their limits
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has called on the Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Mark Ryan, to recruit additional cops to rapidly bolster the Queensland Police Service’s Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons unit.
Mr Dametto said these days there was overwhelming demand for police officers to provide services above and beyond the realm of traditional policing, and that the workforce was being crippled under a growing responsibility to meet community expectations around issues like domestic and family violence and mental health.
He said something had to give, and that the Minister needs to define what modern policing in Queensland looked like and then provide adequate resources accordingly.
Overnight it was revealed by the Courier Mail that the police are responding to about 140 calls a day from desperate Queenslanders threatening suicide, which is around a 58 per cent increase in six years.
The hospital “ramping crisis” impacting the State’s ambos also often extends to cops, who reportedly are spending hours and hours outside stretched hospital emergency departments waiting for mental health patients to be assessed.
“There can be delays of many hours at times where police have to stay with that person until the point they’re actually assessed and that does take them off the road,” Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Command Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Brewer told the Queensland Parliament’s Mental Health Select Committee.
“So (the police) are effectively ramped at a hospital for that period of time.”
Mr Dametto said cops today were being expected to talk, walk and think like social workers and psychologists.
“The Queensland Government needs to take a long, hard look at the pressure they’re putting our essential workforces, such as police, under,” he said.
“Break-ins, car-jackings and violence don’t take a break because the State is experiencing other crises like domestic violence and mental health – all that just festers away and leaves our streets and communities less and less safe.
“Our policing resources are being stretched beyond their limit and the Government either needs to radically bolster numbers, or somehow deploy an army of social workers and psychologists who are well-trained and better placed to meet these demands.”
Back in January, Mr. Dametto called for additional police officers who were specifically trained to deal with domestic violence, following release of statistics that demonstrated Queensland frontline police officers were spending 40 per cent of their time attending to domestic and family violence incidents.
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