With two stabbings in Surfers Paradise this week, crime and safety in the entertainment precinct has again fallen under the public spotlight.
- A Gold Coast councillor and Opposition MP say police resources have been drained by border policing
- They have raised concerns that police cannot adequately patrol Surfers Paradise following two stabbings and the ADF’s withdrawal
- The Police Minister says QPS “will step up” to the challenge
But with the Defence Force withdrawing its presence from Queensland’s borders on September 30, a local councillor has raised concerns that police resources will be strained further.
“We don’t have enough police on the ground at the moment,” Cr Darren Taylor said.
“We do have [CCTV] cameras that can assist police, the problem is if we detected a concern we need the police to respond.
Five people have been charged over the fatal stabbing of a man in Surfers Paradise on Wednesday night, while a 17-year-old girl has been charged with unlawful wounding over an unrelated non-fatal stabbing that morning.
Crime ‘terrible’ for Surfers’ reputation
The LNP’s state Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek said the violence has been “terrible for our tourism reputation and also frightening during a holiday period”.
“We just don’t have enough proactive police going on … because of the other the jobs they’re having to do,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
Mr Langbroek said members of QPS had informed him that one car crew, but no beat police, had been patrolling central Surfers Paradise this week prior to Wednesday’s fatal stabbing.
“But it’s also been exacerbated by the fact that the ADF, the Australian Defence Force, who are helping to monitor the quarantine, are now only doing day shifts.”
On Wednesday, Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers said police were stretched beyond their limit due to demands of border checkpoints and hotel quarantine.
“We simply don’t have the numbers,” he said.
“The (ADF) are assisting us to do our job, we don’t have the numbers to do each and every job.”
Minister promises more shifts for police
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the statistic that Gold Coast assaults had increased by 132 per cent since 2015 was “cherrypicked” by the State Opposition.
“From time to time people cherrypick statistics and pick the most favourable statistic for their argument,” he said.
Mr Ryan said “police will step up” to the operational challenges presented by the ADF’s withdrawal from border duties.
“Of course it would be good if the Defence Force would stay because that provides additional resourcing, but we’ll make it work,” the Minister said.
He said a record number of more than 1,000 police were on the Gold Coast, with a new station in Pimpama expected to become operational next year.
The State Opposition has promised an additional 80 offices for the Gold Coast over four years.
Queensland Police have been contacted for comment.