Funding for extra police in CBD in danger of running out
A PRIVATELY funded police operation to curb industry-worker fuelled violence in Gladstone CBD could be on the brink of running dry of funds.
The $3450-a-night Operation Parasol initiative was developed through the joint efforts of Gladstone Police, Gladstone Regional Council and industry to control a predicted increase in public nuisance offences through an influx of fly-in, fly-out and local industry workers.
Documents obtained by The Observer report the funding of the operation is expected to run out next month.
Gladstone Police said there had been a significant increase in the number of reported assaults in Gladstone's CBD since the operation began on June 30, 2012.
"There has also been a corresponding increase in police presence, partly due to the additional officers working as part of Operation Parasol," Gladstone Police Supt Glenn Kachel said.
Since June, local industry and small businesses have pooled funds to ensure the longevity of the operation.
More than $150,000 has been received to fund the $115-per-hour cost needed for five special-duty police officers to respond solely to incidents in the CBD.
At least 28 police operations have been conducted since the operation began, with more than 200 people charged with 361 offences.
Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey did not comment on whether the government would fund operations in mining towns such as Gladstone.
"Obviously the government already funds police through taxpayer revenue, however, operations such as this have been joint partnerships between local business, council and police," Mr Dempsey said.
Mayor Gail Sellers would not comment about the prospects of Operation Parasol receiving State Government funding, but praised the efforts of local police.
"There are people who feel quite safe walking from venue to venue around the CBD," she said.
"But I would advise anyone who may feel unsafe to walk in a large group just to look after each other."
Venue managers say drinking at home contributes to problems
NIGHTCLUB managers agree there are a number of problems associated with alcohol-fuelled assaults in Gladstone's CBD.
But Central Lane Hotel venue manager Rick Adams said residents shouldn't be quick to blame nightspots for causing the problem.
"National Liquor Retailers continue to promote the sale of cheap liquor for years. Part of the problem lies with people fuelling up on drinks before coming into town," Mr Adams said.
Bojangles venue manager Garth O'Hagan agreed.