Shock plan for police stranded by border chaos
COMMISSIONER Katarina Carroll says the race to figure out how to work around a potential hard Queensland border closure leave officers stranded includes temporary relocations.
She confirmed options include putting impacted officers up in temporary accommodation.
It comes after the Bulletin revealed both New South Wales and Queensland police have been working on contingency plans in case Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young moves to toughen border measures. It's understood a hard closure is considered a when not if scenario.
Up to 80 police serving in Tweed-Byron Bay are living on the Gold Coast while 60 to 70 police serving on the Gold Coast live in NSW, it was revealed by the Bulletin on Thursday.
During a press conference in Brisbane, Commissioner Carroll was asked what a hard closure would mean for about 80 Queensland officers living south of the Queensland-NSW border.
"There's police living on both sides of the border obviously," she said.
"I've actually asked them (Queensland Police) to work on this already for a few days. We're already planning in case it is the case."
Commissioner Carroll said officers who are NSW residents may have to be accommodated in Queensland in some way.
"We've got to make it work," she said.
"But we as police and emergency services also have to be true to the (health) directives because health workers and emergency services are probably at greater risk because we have more contact with the community.
"So we have to abide by those directives, like others, and make sure that if it's our police that live over there and work here and vice versa … that we make some tough decisions about where our police stay until this is over."
Queensland Health did not answer questions earlier this week about whether police officers would receive exemptions to go and work over the border, but said they currently cannot travel out of the bubble.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and decisions are based on the latest health advice," a spokesman said.
It came after Dr Young warned border residents on Monday of potentially stricter measures.
"I think every single person who lives in any of those border communities in either Queensland or NSW needs to think what will I do, what will my family do if the border closes because there are cases spreading north from Sydney," she said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday said Queensland's border "will stay closed as long as necessary".
"Queensland's health response to the global coronavirus pandemic has taken enormous sacrifice," she said.
The state has recorded no new coronavirus cases on Thursday and there is nine active cases, after two people were confirmed to have recovered overnight.
Almost 12,000 tests have been conducted during the past day.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles urged Queenslanders to avoid complacency, to keep up social distancing and good hygiene.
Anyone who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested and isolate while waiting for results.
Originally published as Shock plan for police stranded by border chaos