By HARRY CLARKE
FIFTEEN new positions have been allocated to the South West District’s frontline in the wake of the deadly Wieambilla shooting in December, and as break-ins and car thefts run rampant across the Western Downs.
Tara Police Station, where Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold were working when they were killed, has been allocated two new permanent general duties positions after reportedly being staffed on a temporary rotational basis over the months since the Wieambilla terror attack.
The QPS also announced in a statement that a Tactical Crime Squad is to be stationed full time at Dalby, comprising a sergeant and five constables tasked with responding to crime hot spots.
A Domestic and Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Unit comprising three constables has also been allocated to Dalby, while Chinchilla has been allocated two sergeants and the reclassification of the Officer in Charge role to higher duties for the Chinchilla Division.
WATCH: Residents thank police at Tara station in wake of Wieambilla shooting
To support the new positions, upgrade works to Tara and Chinchilla Police Stations plus accommodation facilities are being progressed, a QPS statement said.
A fleet increase of four new vehicles has been allocated, including two vehicles for the Tactical Crime Squad, one vehicle for the Domestic & Family Violence & Vulnerable Persons Unit and one additional vehicle for Chinchilla Police Station.
Three further vehicles have also been acquired to support the Police Liaison Officer network with a vehicle being allocated to each of Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma Police Stations.
Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Charysse Pond said policing services in the district had been maintained at a sustainable operational level however the additions were a welcome boost to the frontline.
“The QPS is committed to strengthening permanent policing presence at Tara following the tragic events of 12 December 2022,” Pond said.
“The allocation of additional resources will contribute to enhanced community relations and engagement activities within the community.
“The QPS, like any organisation, experiences movement and changes in employees as people are impacted or successfully seek transfers or promotions; and each region has the discretion and flexibility to move resources around as demand dictates.
“All stations within the District are also supported by specialist police functions which include officers in Dog Squad, Counter Terrorism and Major Events, Missing Persons Unit, Homicide Investigation Unit, Drug Squad and Disaster Management.”
The announcement comes as the Queensland Government this week announced a $90 million recruitment drive to bolster police across the state.
Callide MP and Chinchilla resident Bryson Head said property crime and car thefts in the Western Downs region were a growing problem and welcomed the announcement of new police positions.
“Importantly, this also provides two more senior police positions in Chinchilla, which, with significant crime rates and following the tragedy of last year, will go a long way to providing police with sufficient support,” Head said.
“I’ve been specifically advocating for this change, as it’s been needed for a long time. It is also the next step to allow for more growth in local police staff and rostered police hours.
“I do note, that the Government has regularly failed at filling positions across the state, so I’ll keep fighting until actual police are in these positions.
“At the very least, the government has acknowledged the need for more officers across the Western Downs.
“I also actively encourage personnel to apply for these positions, to come and live and work in a wonderful part of the country.”