‘Struggling to keep up’: Top cop wants more officers
COMMISSIONER Katarina Carroll says she needs more police officers after an unprecedented 48 per cent jump in call-outs.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the state's top cop will ask the State Government for more police following increased demand, which includes a 59 per cent rise in triple-0 calls from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
Ms Carroll said there was a "massive increase" in mental health, youth justice and domestic violence work for officers.
When she took the helm in 2019, it was "quite obvious" there were issues over an increase in demand, which led her to undertake a review of the Queensland Police Service.
As part of a major restructure, police will change the way they work, more frontline resources will be available, regions and commands will be realigned, and an ongoing district trial will measure every police action to increase efficiency and prevent duplication from officers.
"It is, I think, very fair to say that we are struggling to keep up with demand, hence why we're doing that piece of work," Ms Carroll said.
"For instance, a job that comes from the public to Policelink to triple-0 … I don't want that to be doubled or tripled up, because that means we're less efficient on the ground.
"So at the moment, with just the pure increase in demand, without changing the way we do business, (it) is having an impact on us delivering effective services."
Ms Carroll said the areas that were most affected were frontline police, detectives in criminal investigation branches, child protection units, and Policelink staff.
The Courier-Mail last year revealed that a Queensland Police Union analysis of staffing showed a massive shortage of police in Queensland.
QPU president Ian Leavers has called for 1650 police and 350 staff, and he says the service is "woefully understaffed" and "relying on Band-Aid solutions".
Ms Carroll said she would approach Police Minister Mark Ryan for more officers after major changes were made but said she could not yet commit to a number.
"We've got a project in Moreton and what we're literally doing is mapping everything we do as a police office - from the second we take a call, to the front line, to the CIB, to the investigation, to the end result.
"So when we do all of that work around efficiency and effectiveness, and I have the science behind it, I will then definitely go to the Minister and I will say 'We have become as effective and efficient as we can, however there will be this gap (in police staff numbers)'.
"If someone said to me 'I'm going to give you thousands of staff', any Commissioner would say 'Yes, definitely, I will take that'."
In response, Police Minister Mark Ryan said: "Whenever Commissioners have asked the Government for extra resources the Government has provided resources, including, for example, this year's record police budget and funding for an extra 535 police personnel."
Ms Carroll said domestic violence had dramatically increased, with police attending 100,000 incidents a year, and there would be efficiencies around police processes so officers could concentrate on the victim and "deal with the issues around the respondent".
The review found that phone calls, emails and digital reports to Policelink averaged 145,000 per month last year - an increase of 32 per cent since January 2013.
The review also found civilian staff numbers were reduced by 500 in 2012-13, which has led to sworn officers doing administration work.
The commissioner has announced a new deputy commissioner for regional Queensland, based in Townsville, after claims that crime is out of control in northern Queensland.
She has also split Cairns and Townsville into two regions and says new deputy Paul Taylor will report directly to her to give further clarity to any issues. There will also be a new position of southern Queensland deputy, filled by Steve Gollschewski, and there will be a new region including the Sunshine Coast and other neighbouring areas.
Protective Services is expected to join with the counter-terrorism command, among other structural changes, Ms Carroll said.
The commissioner said she expected the changes would reduce the crime rate in coming years