Top cop returns fire over predator fears

 

QUEENSLAND'S top cop has fired back at concerns officers are too overstretched and understaffed to monitor thousands of registered child sex offenders.

The Queensland Police Union is demanding the State Government enlist an extra 150 police to work in the Child Abuse and Sexual Crimes group as they "struggle to cope" with the ever-increasing workload.

Union demands more officers

Time to put a hold on hysteria

Fardon spotted at North Lakes

Police rely on an online honesty system and 22 dedicated specialists to oversee the 2700 sex fiends on the state's Child Protection Offender Register.

The State Opposition and former Child Protection Investigation Unit detective turned Liberal National MP Dan Purdie claim the controversial freeing of serial rapist Robert Fardon has exposed how "sick predators" can rort the online honesty system.

Police Commissioner Stewart said any of the state's 11,800 police officers could be tasked to perform duties outside their area of expertise including checks on non-compliance by registered offenders.

He said the QPS had a "borderless policing" approach to allow police to be more agile, visible and flexible.

But Mr Purdie, who investigated child sex crimes for almost a decade, said: "That is crap.

"CPIU officers are already drowning in work trying to deal with juvenile crime which is out-of-control and at epidemic proportions.

"They have no time to be downing tools to help the poor CPOR officers.''

Police Minister Mark Ryan has ridiculed staffing concerns as absurd, suggesting all police could be tasked to monitor registered paedophiles.

 

Convicted rapist Robert John Fardon
Convicted rapist Robert John Fardon

The Child Protection Offender Register section has just 22 specialist investigators - with three on extended stress leave who are unlikely to return to work and their positions are unfilled.

In some districts, like Capricornia, one officer alone - without a police vehicle to do spot checks - has to monitor 180 paedophiles.

In the Far North, two CPOR officers monitor 230 offenders from Cairns to the Torres Strait; two monitor 180 offenders in Townsville district, one covers 140 in the Darling Downs, two cover 220 on the Gold Coast, while there about 600 registered paedophiles in the Brisbane region.

Under the system, registered child sex offenders used to have to appear in person to the police station.

Now they use an online portal to report in, update their home address, any travel, and notify police if they have any contact with children.

Mr Ryan said it was up to the Police Commissioner to allocate resources "free of political interference".

He said an extra 535 police will be recruited in the next three years and $25 million committed to the monitoring and surveillance of reportable offenders.

Police Union president Ian Leavers, a former Juvenile Aid Bureau (now CPIU) officer, said police across the state were struggling to keep up with fewer resources and an ever-increasing workload.

"This is why we need a minimum staffing model and a proper analysis of workload and caseloads so that police are able to appropriately monitor offenders as opposed to being endlessly given ever-increasing file loads,'' Mr Leavers said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is pushing for GPS tracking of dangerous repeat sex offenders.

She said she was sickened to think "these monsters are trusted to self-report their whereabouts to police".



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