Police enforce safety first priority for Ipswich city centre

ON DUTY: Police staffing levels in the mall are at an all-time high.
ON DUTY: Police staffing levels in the mall are at an all-time high. Rob Williams

THE SAFETY of the Ipswich CBD is being enhanced by an increased police presence like never before.

Combating crime and improving residents' sense of personal safety is Ipswich police and the Ipswich City Council's number one priority.

Inspector Michelle Stenner said that since January there had been an increased police presence in the Ipswich CBD including the Top of Town, Bell St and the Ipswich Mall.

"We've got what is called the 'Foxtrot team' - a non-taskable, totally proactive enforcement team that has been running since January," she said.

"They roam around the CBD to target those offences which cause our general members of the public the most concern. We are talking about public nuisance, loiterers that are hanging around and we've had some chromers.

"It is not just arresting them, it is about referring them to the appropriate support services as well because there are always underlying causes that relate to offending behaviour.

"On top of that I have up to six dedicated CBD officers between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday."

The Foxtrot team covers the hours outside of that.

"Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night we have a designated team of seven to eight officers, which is led by a senior officer, targeting our liquor precinct throughout the entire Ipswich district," Insp Stenner said.

The Rhino all-terrain vehicle is driven by officers from the Riverlink beat through the mall and other areas where police vehicles cannot access.

It has recently been fitted with indicators so it can be driven at night.

Cr Andrew Antoniolli said this week's Safe City Conference highlighted the safety of Ipswich's streets.

"In the 20 years Safe City cameras have been in operation over 9000 arrests have been made as a direct result of this footage and serious crime has all but vanished," he said.

He said "combating crime and improving residents' sense of personal safety on our streets is absolutely the number one priority for council".

Cr Antoniolli said the increased police presence was not due to the incident last Friday night where two Mehfil Indian Restaurant employees were attacked.

"That incident the other night was by two out-of-towners, and it was the first major incident we've had in the camera coverage area for 15 years," he said.

"But that said, we can't rest on our laurels. We need to continue to target those matters that are leaving a poor impression on people. It is tainting the view of what a safe precinct we have here, and if it means that we have to fly the flag a little bit higher then so be it."

Cr Antoniolli said he wanted people to "not only be safe, but feel safe" in the city's streets.

Topics:  bell st ipswich mall safe city cameras top of town ipswich

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