Ipswich police comms centre to stay, $1M upgrade next
THE FUTURE of the Ipswich Police Communications Centre is secure and the QT can reveal it is now set to receive a $1 million upgrade in much needed technology and infrastructure.
That news and the fact the centre will now be integrated into the statewide Queensland Police Service (QPS) communications network is a massive boost to the 23 staff who work at the Yamanto hub and to the security and safety of the Ipswich public.
The Ipswich community was in uproar in July of 2015 when staff were told the QPS planned to shut the communications centre and relocate staff to a centralised hub in Brisbane.
But a concerted QT campaign backed by the Queensland Police Union, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard and other civic leaders kept the pressure on to keep the centre in Yamanto.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said today that the State Government was "committed to keeping the Ipswich Communications open and keeping jobs in Ipswich" and those words have been backed by actions.
Inspector Michael Ede is the hosting inspector with the support services group in the Ipswich Police District, which supports the police communications command.
Insp Ede said the new upgrade of technology at Ipswich to the Queensland Computer Aided Dispatch (QCAD) system would link Ipswich with seven other key centres across the state and open the possibility for extra staff.
"There are seven centres across the state that operate under the QCAD system which are interlinked, and when work flows exceed capacity the workload can be moved off to another communications centre," he said.
"When Ipswich gets its upgrade...that will bring them in line with the other seven communications and they will work as a collective group and share workloads.
"There are 23 staff here but that capacity will increase as volumes and workloads increase over time."
Insp Ede said having the Yamanto based centre was vital because "the staff working here know the Ipswich district inside out so when they are communicating with operational staff in the field...and when they get calls for service from the community they have a more intimate knowledge of the local area"
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said that as well as a computer software upgrade "the Ipswich Communications Centre will receive an upgrade to the telephone system and standardised training for staff, which means a more streamlined information and workload sharing model".
Meanwhile, Ms Howard said the upgrade news was "a fantastic win for Ipswich".
"As we heard from Michael (Ede), these are local jobs with local knowledge and we need to keep it local and keep these jobs in Ipswich.
"It increases our ability and capability to serve the community.
"There was a lot of public outcry when it was first flagged that (the Ipswich centre) might close and I would really like to thank Minister Mark Ryan for listening and for coming up with this $1 million to upgrade the centre."
Cr Pisasale said it was "fantastic" news for the safety of people in Ipswich and Queensland as a whole, and a tribute to what he called "people power".
"This is a great example of where myself as the mayor, the state members and the local paper The Queensland Times can put pressure on to get what is right," said.
"This is about fighting for fair and something the people should all take a bow over. We won.
"This is a crucial communications centre and we have a great relationship with the police force with Safe City. They are our friends."