Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has criticised the Palaszczuk Labor Government for failing to ensure police numbers have kept up with population rises and increased demands on Queensland Police Service (QPS).
Following statistics that show Queensland frontline police officers are spending 40 per cent of their time attending to domestic and family violence incidents, Mr Dametto is calling for additional police officers who are specifically trained for these incidents.
Mr Dametto said that the KAP is calling for the QPS to develop a secondary policing unit that would be responsible for all proactive and reactive domestic violence policing requirements.
“Under the KAP’s proposal, officers part of this unit would be provided with additional training on preventing, managing and prosecuting domestic violence incidents. We would also like to see these officers supported by other government-funded specialists such as social workers and psychologists,” said Mr Dametto.
Last year, fewer than 90 domestic violence specialised officers in Queensland were tasked with managing 107,000 cases.
In 2020-21 domestic and family violence matters increased by 13 per cent in comparison to the previous year.
“We understand that QPS currently employs officers as specialists for domestic and family violence however, the force is struggling with the rising case numbers, increased population and demand placed on officers,” he said.
“For example, in 2009-10, QPS laid 8,033 charges for breach of a domestic violence order. In comparison to 2020, where 35,838 charges were reported. Each instance requires an immense amount of police focus and time.
“To add to the pressure, we can’t forget last year QPS became responsible for a myriad of additional duties resulting from COVID-19 – border patrols, compliance, quarantine and mandate enforcement.
“The lack of specialised officers for these incidents means that vulnerable members of our communities are being left with no support during dangerous and tragic times of their lives.
“Some may suggest non-government agencies such as community support centres, but these organisations simply do not have the capacity to manage the high volume of cases or in some circumstances they do not have enough trained and qualified employees to assist.”
The KAP Members of Parliament will continue to have discussions with the Minister for Police regarding their proposal for a secondary policing unit responsible for domestic and family violence.