News : Ipswich Police Communication Centre Moving to Brisbane
Queensland, Australia, July 4, 2015 -- A move to scrap the Ipswich police communications centre has been dubbed a backwards step that will threaten the long-standing working partnership with Safe City.
By March next year, the Ipswich communications centre will be no more, with the Queensland Police Service planning to relocate operations to a centralised hub in Brisbane.
Based at Yamanto police station, the Ipswich communications centre handles emergency calls from the public and radio transmissions between various police units.
The centre's co-operation with Safe City is widely regarded as the leading example of how a communications centre should operate.
However the Queensland Police Service said advancements in technology now made it more practical to centralise communications centres and consultation with employees and unions was under way.
On any given shift the centre is staffed by a minimum of four civilians and a police communications co-ordinator who is usually a sergeant or higher.
On busy times like Friday and Saturday nights, there may be as many as seven civilians taking calls and communicating with police via radio.
A police service spokeswoman said while some jobs would transition to Brisbane, there would be "no net loss of positions in the Ipswich area".
"This will be achieved by placing further police in the Ipswich District," she said.
An Ipswich police source told the QT that the most important function of the communications centre was local geographical knowledge.
"I don't think people realise how much of an impact this will have on Ipswich," the source said.
"Everyone that works in comms lives in Ipswich. When they have to give directions to crews on the road they can tell them straight away."
Staff have been told that the move will take place next March.
Council's public safety chairman Cr Andrew Antoniolli said the long-term result would be detrimental.
"Ipswich, like any community, has its idiosyncrasies and having that local knowledge is vitally important so I believe this penny pinching will cost Ipswich in loss of time and loss of knowledge," he said.
"The connection we have between comms and Safe City is unique and something that most other cities do not have. We stream live to the communications room the footage of what is going on.
"As a direct result we get really good response and my fear is that connection will be lost by having the facility based in Brisbane.
"I know a number of communications staff personally and whilst they won't be allowed to tell you, they would agree that local knowledge at a communications level is essential in ensuring quality information is given to the (police) on the road."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale slammed moving the communications centre to Brisbane as "the height of stupidity".
"We have built a wonderful relationship between Safe City, the police and comms which has proved to be an enormous success at getting the crime rate down," he said.
"We have the Police Minister (Jo-Ann Miller) here and if she allows this to happen she will be selling Ipswich down the river.
"We also have the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who I support, talking about regionalisation when this is the complete opposite."
The QT approached Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller for comment about the relocation but she said it was "an operational matter for the Queensland Police service".
It was a lack of comment that angered the police union.
Mr Ian Leavers said there had been no consultation prior to the announcement.
"Dismantling the communications centre would be counter-productive.
"This would be a bad decision," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Queensland Police Service:
The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is the law enforcement agency responsible for policing the Australian state of Queensland. In 1990, the Queensland Police Force was officially renamed the Queensland Police Service and the old motto of "Firmness with Courtesy" was changed to "With Honour We Serve". The headquarters of the Queensland Police Service is located at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.
Published: Monday, July 6, 2015