Newman pledges to base elite police unit in Ipswich

IPSWICH is set to be the home of a new rapid action police hub after Premier Campbell Newman unveiled his government's commitment to increasing police resources and reducing crime yesterday.

Mr Newman, who announced his plans while visiting an Ipswich family for morning tea, said the Ipswich police hub would see extra police with state-of-the-art technology and equipment on the beat in the city, making the streets safer for residents.

There are already two police hubs in Queensland on the Gold Coast and in Townsville.

The hubs are essentially a highly mobile and borderless police taskforce that uses intelligence to crack down on crime trends in any given area.

All officers have iPads and spend their entire shift on the beat.

The State Government, if re-elected, will determine the number of officers assigned to Ipswich and the location of the hub following the election.

Mr Newman said the catalyst for the hub concept was the bikie riot on the Gold Coast and associated issues with gangs.

Premier Campbell Newman and Member for Ipswich Ian Berry visit Helena Woods and daughter Olivia, 7, at their home in Eastern Heights. David Nielsen
Premier Campbell Newman and Member for Ipswich Ian Berry visit Helena Woods and daughter Olivia, 7, at their home in Eastern Heights. David Nielsen David Nielsen

A rapid action police hub was subsequently funded on the Gold Coast, followed by another in Townsville to deal with a youth crime issue that was seeing criminals breaking into homes and taking cars for joy rides.

After the Townsville hub was created Mr Newman said "the crime rates had dropped in categories such as break and enters and car thefts by over 40%".

Ipswich has similar issues and there have been public safety concerns in the Ipswich Mall and other areas of the CBD that have been highlighted in QT

"We think you have got some issues that this issue will help solve," Mr Newman told QT.

He predicted the new hub would "make a huge difference" in Ipswich.

"I can confidently say that I reckon within a year of the hub being put in place you will see an amazing result in the crime stats," he said.

"You will see an increase in (some) crime because police will be grabbing people who are manufacturing and peddling drugs.

"So things where they can go out on the beat proactively, you will see an increase there.

"But you will see house break-ins go down, you will see car thefts go down, you will probably see robberies go down and you could well see a reduction in assaults.

"I am so confident about it, that I will make those predictions.

"The hub on the Gold Coast is like a warehouse.

"Their gear is there and they come in and literally put on the special webbing harness they wear, they assign out their weapons, they get a very quick briefing and they are out on the beat.

"They have got iPad technology and they are out there all the time.

"If they apprehended someone, other people process that, and they just stay out on the beat."

Mr Newman spoke to Eastern Heights mother of two Helena Woods in her home yesterday about his plans.

Premier Campbell Newman visited Hel na Woods at her home in Eastern Heights to announce plans to improve policing in Ipswich. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Premier Campbell Newman visited Hel na Woods at her home in Eastern Heights to announce plans to improve policing in Ipswich. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Ms Woods and husband Ken have a daughter Olivia and son Nathaniel.

She said that Mr Newman spoke to her about the 12% drop in reported crime across the State and also about his plans for the new Ipswich rapid action police hub.

"That makes me really happy as a parent," she said.

"I want my children to grow up in a safe neighbourhood and city. I love Ipswich."

She said she "loved the idea" of the new hub.

"It will get quicker responses out there, get more police out there and get all those nasty people off the streets quicker."

Ipswich MP Ian Berry said the new police hub would "make for a safer Ipswich".

"And Helena (Woods) said she came from Brisbane to Ipswich, not just because it is her home town, but because it is safer," he said.

Mr Newman also outlined the State Government's plans, if it is re-elected, to put another 300 police officers on the beat and to roll out 5400 real-time devices to police officers serving on the frontline.


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