Our cops are at ‘breaking point’
QUEENSLAND police officers have issued a dramatic cry for help, saying they are "at breaking point" and "burnt out, tired and hurting physically and psychologically".
They say they are fighting an uphill battle in the face of rising crime and have "nothing left to give".
The extraordinary comments have been made by veteran frontline officer Phil Notaro in an article for the Queensland Police Union journal.
Senior-Sergeant Notaro, the union's South Eastern region representative, said with budgets slashed, police were struggling under pressure to cut costs and were constantly being told to "do more with less".
"Our members are burnt out," he writes.
"They are tired. They are hurting, physically and psychologically. We are short of police everywhere. There is no fat in any roster anywhere.
"The calls for service continued to pile in and are through the roof. Jobs are simply not getting done, as crews are at breaking point, going from job to job to job.
"It is a relentless cycle.
"Most crime stats are also on the rise. In some areas, we have unabated population growth, with no real plan by the QPS or the government on how to keep up."
Sen-Sgt Notaro said many police workplaces had been told to cut costs by 3-4 per cent.
"The troops have nothing left to give. They are working as hard as they can, with no respite," he writes.
Sen-Sgt Notaro said the situation flew in the face of the police service's Our People Matter strategy.
"While, on one hand, it is continually reinforcing how important our people are, the service continues to grind our members into the ground," he said.
A 10 per cent increase in police resources was needed "'straight off the bat" to alleviate pressure on rosters for officers on leave or relieving in specialist areas.
"Then we have areas of massive population growth, like Coomera and Jimboomba divisions, where we need an immediate growth of about another 15 per cent just to catch up with the massive increase in demand for our services," he said.
Sen-Sgt Notaro called for a review of exactly where the state's 11,500 police were stationed "because as far as I can see, that's never been done".
He said extra police were desperately needed in areas such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville and questioned whether more roles could be performed by civilians.
"We can't just keep doing more with less. We can't just keep driving our troops into the ground," he said.
In a statement, a QPS spokesman said the service worked with the union "to better support the health, safety and wellbeing" of officers and their families.
He said work-related psychological injuries had fallen and the QPS was focused on minimising fatigue.
"The service regularly reviews population growth, crime trends and service delivery requirements across Queensland," he said.