Police Commissioner Ian Stewart
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart Barry Leddicoat

Top cop defends border structure changes

QUEENSLAND could one day be a state of borderless policing with the state's top cop vowing to change the culture within the force to disregard borders.

Monday marked the first day of the Queensland Police Service's new structure including the reduction of the state's police districts from 31 to 15 and regions from eight to five.

The new central region encompasses the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Rockhampton while the southern region stretches from the NSW border to the Northern Territory border and east to Toowoomba.

After Police Commissioner Ian Stewart revealed his intention to modify the regional boundaries in January, there had been varied criticism regarding the new regions' sizes.

The Queensland Opposition claimed the larger regions would risk the links between communities and the QPS while unions questioned the impact on service delivery.

But Commissioner Stewart stood by the move on Monday.

He said communications had improved since the former police boundary map was implemented post the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption.

"The reason we are able to go to those larger sizes is that when we put the map together about 20 years ago, just after Fitzgerald, we didn't have the communications technology we have today," he said.

"The instant ability to talk to each other right across the state just wasn't available in the way it was today.

"So, in reality, you can take all the lines off the map in many respects in the regional level and have one big Queensland region.

"But that is probably a step too far in terms of giving people some leadership where we need it out there in those five regions."

Commissioner Stewart said he wanted to change the culture of the police service to disregard the boundaries at an "operational level".

Under the restructure, 332 staff left QPS, including 86 sworn police officers who took voluntary redundancies.

The sworn police positions will be replaced with commissioned officers.

The restructure is meant to strengthen the front line and pull officers from backroom and administrative duties onto the street.



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