COPS AND COURT: How Commonwealth Games will impact Gladstone
CONTRARY to rumours circulating Gladstone, there will be plenty of police on duty during the Commonwealth Games.
The news that Queensland police officers will leave their districts to work the major sporting event on the Gold Coast in April has been profusely circulated.
As a result, some Gladstone residents have connected the wrong dots and assumed there would be fewer police officers to work the region over the three-week period.
But Senior Sergeant Jamie Goodwin has come forward and busted the "common myth".
He said the station was sending 20-22 officers to the Gold Coast, but that this would not impact numbers.
"Nothing will change for Gladstone Police Station during the Commonwealth Games," he said.
Sen-Sgt Goodwin told The Observer a restriction on leave and training had been put in place in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games in order to make up for and counter the number of officers deployed to the Games.
This means no staff members at the Gladstone Police Station are allowed to access leave or training between April 4 and April 15.
"The restriction ensures there won't be a reduction in police numbers in Gladstone," Sen-Sgt Goodwin said.
We probably found we'll have more staff than normal due to the leave restriction.
Usually, leave can be booked by staff members throughout the year, however, the restriction ensures no more staff members will be out of the station than there would be if it was a regular month (where no restriction is in place and no officers are lost to the Games).
Petty crime during the Games
Given the hype around the Games and the misconceptions regarding a reduction in police numbers, fears there might be an increase in petty crime in April have also been raised.
"It would be very disappointing if people used the time to target other members of the community with opportunistic crime," Sen-Sgt Goodwin said.
"There will be police on patrol during the Commonwealth Games."
Police officers working the Commonwealth Games were able to nominate themselves or be nominated.
Which officers will work at the Commonwealth Games
Officers with certain skills sets (for example - dog squad officers or investigators) were specifically targeted.
"All our staff who are going are looking forward to it," Sen-Sgt Goodwin said.
To experience a large scale event like that is very exciting to officers.
A variety of training has been provided to officers attending the Commonwealth Games and varied depending on what role they would be performing on the Gold Coast.
The training over the past six to 12 months has been conducted in both Brisbane and out in the regions.
"Planning has been going on for a lengthy time," Sen-Sgt Goodwin said.
The staggered deployment of officers will begin in March.
How will Gladstone Magistrates and District Courts be affected
DISRUPTIONS to courts across Queensland during the Commonwealth Games, including those in Gladstone, have been planned for, according to the Office of the Chief Magistrate.
The deployment of Gladstone police officers to the south east corner of the state means there will be no hearings involving police in Gladstone Magistrates Court between April 4 and April 15.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Magistrate said the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Court Services have been planning for the upcoming Commonwealth Games for some time.
A statement ensured The Observer there would be minimal disruption to courts due to extensive planning.
Matters that will proceed include: contested sentences (without police witnesses), lengthy sentences, civil matters, domestic violence mentions and applications and other matters not involving police (e.g. traffic matters where there are no police witnesses required).
The domestic violence court, which sits every Thursday in Gladstone, will also be operational.
Similarly, District Courts throughout Queensland, including Gladstone District Court, will not hold any criminal trials or circuits between March 26 and April 15 (three weeks).
"Subsequent to the games, extra sittings days will be allocated as necessary to clear any backlog," the spokesperson said.
All court sitting details can be viewed in the courts calendars available on the courts website at: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/daily-law-lists/court-calendars