Summer of hell: Fears for ‘under pressure’ Coast cops
A former Coast detective turned MP says local cops fear a "summer of hell" as stretched stations struggle to deal with a surge in calls for help from the community.
Ninderry MP and former child protection detective Dan Purdie said officers across the region were bracing for a "summer of hell" as officers prepared to be tested during the traditionally demanding Christmas holiday period.
It was understood the Caloundra station recently notched up a record week of calls for service received, with more than 300 logged, well above a standard week.
Mr Purdie said the Caloundra station, which had operated at a full capacity of 35 officers, had been running at "half that number".
He said some officers had been seconded or deployed to other frontline areas which included Covid duties.
It was understood officers from neighbouring areas had provided support to Caloundra in recent weeks.
Mr Purdie described it as "crisis point" for Coast police, who were "overstretched and under-resourced".
"The thin blue line has never been thinner," he said
It was understood some resources had already been brought back to the region from deployments in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and more officers would continue to return as reduced border restrictions eased the pressure on police numbers.
Sunshine Coast police district officer Superintendent Craig Hawkins said he was aware of the effect population growth was having on demand for service in the region's south.
"We recognise with the population growth in Caloundra that policing resources is going to be a priority issue for us to examine in the future," Supt Hawkins said.
It was understood a new service-wide focus on more effective triage of calls in future would be critical to maximising the response of frontline officers.
New Caloundra MP Jason Hunt said he would "always advocate in the strongest possible terms for the people of Caloundra" to have the appropriate resources and investments to support community safety, but said resource allocation was a matter for the police service.
Mr Hunt said Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll had stated clearly a minimum of 150 new police officers would be deployed to each policing region.
"The allocation of police resources is always a matter for the Commissioner, not politicians, just as it should be," Mr Hunt said.
"Police are the experts when it comes to the deployment of police resources."
A $9 million new police facility at Caloundra South is part of a $300 million capital works program by the State Government to deliver new police facilities across the state.
Mr Hunt said he'd been told the Queensland Police Service had "started a scoping and requirements study for the new police facility" and would work with the developer to identify an appropriate start date.
Mr Purdie called for new police resources to be fast-tracked to the region, as he said domestic violence incidents typically spiked over the Christmas break and he feared response times would be slowed at stations not at full capacity.
"Labor needs to stop making promises and actually start delivering for our region. The people of the Sunshine Coast deserve better," he said.
The Daily also put questions to the Queensland Police Service about the effect easing border restrictions would have on local station staffing, but did not receive a response.