Superintendant Mark Wheeler
Superintendant Mark Wheeler

Cops to patrol Brisbane residents in lockdown on Gold Coast

UPDATE

A crack COVID investigation team has also been set-up to respond to any reports from Glitter Strip accommodation operators of out-of-towners not sticking to lockdown rules.

Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler on Saturday reminded any residents from Greater Brisbane, or those who had been to the city any time since January 2, that they must take the isolation rules seriously, even outside the River City.

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"If we receive information that someone is in potential breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions, we will have an investigative team follow up on that," he said.

"Anyone from Greater Brisbane on the Gold Coast needs to abide by the lockdown rules, as if they were in Brisbane. There is only a small number of reasons why they should be leaving their accommodation."

Empty Streets of Brisbane, Margaret St, George St intersection, Brisbane City, Brisbane, 9th of January 2021. Picture: Attila Csaszar.
Empty Streets of Brisbane, Margaret St, George St intersection, Brisbane City, Brisbane, 9th of January 2021. Picture: Attila Csaszar.

The city's top cop also said police would continue to patrol the M1 southbound for anyone who was travelling from Brisbane against the Chief Health Officer's directions across the next three days.

Chief Supt Wheeler said police had already intercepted a "handful" of cars on the M1 overnight and had been operating license-plate scanners.

He said checks would continue until Monday, with crews pulling over drivers and questioning them when it was safe to do so.

"The lockdown is only 72-hours," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

"We don't want to see it extend past this. The advice from the Government and the Prime Minister is just to stay where you are."

Police will be patrolling the streets today and entry points at this Sunday's Big Bash League game, being held at Metricon Stadium, asking people where they reside.

Meanwhile, police on the Queensland-NSW border at Coolangatta yesterday issued two infringement notices to people trying to dodge the checkpoints and talk their way into the state.

 

At 9am Friday, a 37-year-old man tried to enter Queensland at the Miles St border crossing at Coolangatta, telling officers he hadn't been to any NSW COVID hotspots.

Further investigations by police found the man had actually been in Randwick, in Sydney's east, on January 4.

The man was refused entry into Queensland and issued with a $4,003 fine.

A Gold Coast man was also issued with an infringement notice shortly after 1.30pm on Friday after police saw him get out of a car on the NSW side of the Griffith St border checkpoint.

He then walked across the border into NSW and got into another vehicle, and attempted to cross the border without a pass, police allege.

He was issued with an infringement notice.

Chief Supt Wheeler said there had now been 907,000 people apply for border passes and officers had turned around 617 vehicles, with 1,338 people in them since mid-December 2020.

 

 

 

EARLIER

QUEENSLANDERS caught trying to flee Brisbane to the Gold Coast this weekend can expect to be intercepted by police on the M1 and turned back.

From 6pm today, additional Gold Coast cops will ramp up their presence on the M1, pulling over out-of-towners and speaking with occupants who have left the declared coronavirus hotspot.

Officers will beef-up patrols in marked and unmarked police cars, and number-plate scanners will also be operating to identify cars travelling to the Gold Coast that are registered in the Greater Brisbane areas.

If necessary, people trying to visit the city from Brisbane will be turned back or fined $1334 if they refuse to comply.

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Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler urged Brisbane residents to stay home this weekend, saying it was not the time to flout non-essential travel guidelines.

" … People considering coming to the Gold Coast for a sporting event, to see friends, to come to the beach, from the greater Brisbane area, now is not the time to do that. Let me repeat that, now is not the time to do that," he said.

 

Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler says he doesn’t think it’s “too much to ask” for Brisbane residents to stay home for thee days. Picture: NCA NewsWire, Steve Holland.
Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler says he doesn’t think it’s “too much to ask” for Brisbane residents to stay home for thee days. Picture: NCA NewsWire, Steve Holland.

 

Chief Supt Wheeler said police would also be speaking with attendees at this weekend's Big Bash League match being played at Metricon Stadium.

He said Gold Coast police officers would be using "communication and compassion" when speaking with anyone caught travelling from Brisbane.

"If we can't get compliance through those other means, it might be necessary to issue infringement notices, which we have done in the past," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

"If you are intercepted doing the wrong thing and you blatantly ignore the Chief Health Officer's directions, there will be penalties. The other thing is, do you really want to be that person who potentially spreads COVID-19 across Queensland?"

Mass exodus: Highways gridlocked ahead of Brisbane lockdown

The city's top cop said those who were intending to leave Greater Brisbane and come to the Glitter Strip this afternoon, or had been in that area on or since January 2, would need to remain in self-isolation where they plan to stay on the Gold Coast for the next three days.

He said they would need to follow the same rules as if they were in Greater Brisbane.

"We want people to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do," Chief Supt Wheeler said.

alexandria.utting@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as COVID: Cops to patrol lockdowns on Coast, more border dodgers fined



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