Union argues for upgrades to police comms centre
THE Assistant Commissioner in charge of police communications centres was in Ipswich yesterday amid pressure to back away from a decision to close the Ipswich facility.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers will meet with Ipswich communications centre staff this morning at Yamanto police station to discuss plans to relocate staff to Brisbane.
The plan, which the hierarchy says must happen in order to take full advantage of new technology, has angered the union and at least some staff at the Ipswich communications centre, which includes 27 sworn officers and civilians.
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Assistant Commissioner Paul Stewart said the decision to relocate communications wasn't taken lightly, but it was the best way to ensure the safety of the public and frontline police officers.
The Queensland Police Service's argument for the relocation centres on the outdated computer system used in Ipswich being incompatible with the new QCAD system which is used in the major centres of Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.
The QPS wants Ipswich to convert to the new system, but does not want to upgrade the Yamanto police station to cope with the growth that is currently taking place in the city.
Mr Stewart said the benefits of a locally based communications room would be of no detriment to the Safe City partnership, as the Brisbane centre would be able to accommodate the same monitors used in Ipswich.
He also said that any possible loss of local geographical knowledge was not relevant, given the technology now available in Brisbane.
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"With QCAD and with the Government Wireless Network, we have all these new technologies like police officer duress and vehicle location which can come up immediately through the QCAD screen, so we know if an officer is in duress and we know where our officers are so that we can get support to them straight away," he said.
"There is also technology that allows us to see where a mobile phone call is coming from on a GPS system."
Mr Leavers said Ipswich deserved to have money spent on an upgraded communications centre.
"We are saying it is viable and that this plan to relocate to Brisbane was part of an old LNP cost-cutting measure," he said.
"Ipswich is a massively growing area that deserves its own communications centre.
"Ipswich can be upgraded, but there is just no will to do it on the part of the police hierarchy. The police department and the Minister are putting up artificial road blocks."
Mayor Paul Pisasale, MPs Jennifer Howard and Jim Madden, and Federal MP Shayne Neumann will join Mr Leavers at today's meeting.