The State Government has fired back at criticism of Gympie's police staff numbers, saying the number of Wide Bay Burnett positions had risen in the past five years.
The State Government has fired back at criticism of Gympie's police staff numbers, saying the number of Wide Bay Burnett positions had risen in the past five years. Trevor Veale

Labor defends Gympie police services, says staff up 11%

THE Palaszczuk Government has fired back at criticism over the state of Gympie's police service, saying staff numbers have increased in the past five years.

A spokesman for Police Minister Mark Ryan said since July 1, 2014 the number of approved positions in the Wide Bay Burnett region had risen from 445 to 494, an 11 per cent increase.

And the State Government was committing "an additional 535 frontline police and operational specialists by 2021-22” across Queensland.

Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan visits the Rockhampton forensic laboratory
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan. Jann Houley

The region's service levels were criticised earlier this month by LNP MP Tony Perrett in the wake of the axing of Crime Stoppers.

He said thousands of calls to Police Link were going unanswered and feared frontline services were being overstretched.

"Last month we learnt there was a 644 per cent increase in calls going unanswered by PoliceLink, meaning 197,648 calls were unanswered,” Mr Perrett said.

Questions also abound over the state of the Gympie station's communication centre, with reports that calls for help are going through to Maroochydore.

QPS denied last month the centre was being shut.

Gympie Police Station, Channon Street, Gympie. August 11, 2015.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
THIN BLUE LINE: Gympie has benefited from an increase in police numbers, Labor says. Inset: Gympie MP Tony Perrett (top) and Police Minister Mark Ryan. Patrick Woods

Mr Ryan's spokesman said the allocation of resources was "an operational decision made by the commissioner of police, free from political interference”.

"The determination of appropriate staffing is made on the basis of operational policing and direct service-delivery requirements to ensure a fair and equitable service is provided throughout the state,” he said.

He said the Gympie region had been boosted in several ways.

"The Gympie Patrol Group additionally has access to specialist police services such as road policing, scenes of crime, intelligence, prosecutions and the Tactical Crime Squad,” he said.

Police are investigating a stabbing incident in Gympie overnight.
Police tape. Contributed

"One of the current policing strategies in the Gympie Patrol Group to effectively address crime is the use of intelligence and inter-agency interactions to identify and target places and persons of interest.”

Of Crime Stoppers' closure, the spokesman said people could "be reassured” the integrity of the existing service would be "maintained following a decision to transition the contact centre back to the QPS, where it resided up until 2015”.

"QPS, through Policelink and its dedicated staff, mainly civilian, receive more than one and a half million community contacts per year and have the capacity to absorb the calls currently directed to the Crime Stoppers' contact centre,” he said.

"The operation of the contact centre by QPS is consistent with the approach taken with other states and territories.”