Perrett: Are fewer police linked to region's soaring crime?
CONCERNS about increased crime rates in the Wide Bay region have prompted a question in Parliament about local police staffing.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett asked Police Minister Mark Ryan to provide details on staffing numbers at stations in the Gympie region.
"I have asked the Minister to provide data on our police officer numbers over a number of years at the Gympie, Imbil, Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach stations so that we can see what is going on,” Mr Perrett said.
"I am seriously concerned about increased crime rates which show assaults, stealing, car theft, and fraud have all soared in the last three years.
"The 2017/2018 crime figures have shown big increases under the State Labor Government.
"Since 2014/15 robberies have skyrocketed a staggering 100 per cent and shop stealing has increased 44 per cent to 1044 offences.
"Fraud has risen 50 per cent to 1083 and unlawful use of a motor vehicle has increased by 62 per cent.
"Assault is up 28 per cent to 1115 and offences against the person are up 29 per cent to 1423.
"These shocking statistics cannot be dismissed with some manufactured media spin from a desk in Brisbane.
"I am told that frontline police are being over stretched.
"At the same time as crime is skyrocketing the police are being asked to do more and more with less.
"The Government has cut police budgets, stripping $44 million from this year's budget, and closed the Crime Stoppers call centre.
"All this does is put more pressure on police to field calls while trying to do their job with reduced budgets.
"Last month we learnt that there was a 644 per cent increase in calls going unanswered by PoliceLink.
"That wasn't 644 calls unanswered.
"It was a staggering 197,648 that were unanswered or disconnected.
"That means that our hard working police officers miss out on vital tip-offs to keep the community safe.
"Putting community safety first means giving police the resources, including full time frontline staff, and laws they need to fight crime.”
Police Media declined to comment on these numbers yesterday afternoon, saying there was no way to quickly verify the figures because it was unclear how they had been sourced as Mr Perrett's Question on Notice made reference to police numbers only, not crime statistics.
Mr Ryan's office was also sent the figures for a response, but none had been received attime of print.