No headquarters cut for Rocky police in major restructure

Rockhampton police headquarters is one of five regional centres across Queensland to escape the chopping block announced yesterday.
Rockhampton police headquarters is one of five regional centres across Queensland to escape the chopping block announced yesterday. Chris Ison

ROCKHAMPTON police headquarters is one of five regional offices across the state that has escaped the chopping block in the major restructure of the Queensland Police Service announced yesterday.

But Commissioner Ian Stewart remained tight-lipped on which officers throughout the state would get redundancies.

Unions have described the restructure, aimed at breaking free of bureaucracy, 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 with 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 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.

Assistant general secretary Denis Sycz said there had been too much supervision.

Topics:  police restructure state government

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