Catastrophic day for the Queensland Police Service: Union
UNIONS have described the major restructure of the Queensland Police Service, aimed at breaking free of bureaucracy but involving redundancies, as a catastrophic betrayal.
Under the most significant restructure since the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Queensland's eight police regions will be reduced to five and 31 districts merged into 15.
The changes will also lead to 110 commissioned officers, including superintendents, chief superintendents and inspectors, being made redundant alongside 212 non-commissioned officers.
Three regional offices will be closed in Maroochydore, Cairns and Mount Gravatt as police prepare to answer to superiors up to 1000km away.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart trumpeted the move, expected to save $5 million a year, on Monday as an end to restricting bureaucracy and a start to getting more police on the frontline.
"This restructure enables us to take away some the bureaucratic layers we have had," he said.
"..and certainly the realignment of services, the economies of scale we will get from having the less number of regions, in particular, certainly allows us to reduce the size of the workforce but at the same time not reduce the service we give to the public."
Commissioner Stewart confirmed the State Crime Command, which investigates major and organised crime in Queensland, will be reduced by about one third and some staff redeployed to criminal investigation branches across the state.
He was unable to detail where the redundancies would occur due to ongoing discussions with unions.
But the Queensland Police Commissioned Officers' Union of Employees was not impressed.
"This is a catastrophic day for the Queensland Police Service," union president Superintendent John Pointing said.
"We do hold grave fears for the supervision of the service in the future.
"We have just over 400 members and they have a palpable sense of betrayal."
The Queensland Police Union, which looks after 50 members in the firing line, said they were cautiously supportive of the changes but wary of the potential for increased workloads.
Assistant general secretary Denis Sycz said there had been too much supervision in the police service.
"It's about time senior sergeants and sergeants go back to managing their staff," he said.
"It's been true to say in the past the only time (they) have been responsible for their staff is when something goes wrong and someone goes looking for a scapegoat."
As the restructure comes into affect on July 1, four deputy commissioners will be appointed to look after corporate support, regional operations, specialist operations and strategy and policy.
Assistant commissioners will be removed from the three regional offices facing closure but chief superintendents and superintendents will remain in the towns.
Commissioner won't release data until further negotiations with unions
THE Queensland Police Commissioner has refused to detail which regions look to lose the most officers.
At a press conference in Brisbane today, Commissioner Ian Stewart said he had an idea how many redundancies would be offered in each region but confirmed he would not release the detail until further negotiations with police unions.
"Ultimately I am happy to share that with you, " he said.
Toowoomba will retain its status at the Southern Region headquarters and Rockhampton will be the Central region headquarters.
High-ranking officers to be targeted for redundancies
The Queensland Police Commissioner has released the future of the state's police service, including larger regions, less high ranking officers and the closing of some regional headquarters.
Queensland Police Service regions will be reduced from eight to five, including the North Coast district encompassing the Sunshine Coast which will be merged with the central region.
Police districts will also be condensed from 31 to 15.
High-ranking police officers across the state will also be targeted for redundancies.
The top cops will be replaced with low-ranking officers.
The changes come on the back of recommendations following a widespread review of the state's police force.
Commissioner Ian Stewart admitted the service would lose some good people.
Commissioner Stewart said up to 110 commissioned officers and up to 212 staff members would be offered redundancies as part of the changes.
"The commissioned officers will be replaced by officers of a lower rank and an additional 50 sworn positions will be moved to the front line sooner than planned," he said.
"Unfortunately we will lose some good people. We will acknowledge their contribution to the people of Queensland but we must go through some pain to make sure we get as many people on the frontline as we can."
Regional offices in Maroochydore and Cairns have been targeted for closure.
Commissioner Stewart will give a press conference at midday to outline the changes.
More to come