The Queensland government insists a Network Ten series about specialist cops will boost the Gold Coast’s image as a tourist hub.
Queensland’s acting tourism minister insists a Network Ten crime series will boost the Gold Coast’s image, despite protests from the city council.
Network Ten has announced a 10-part documentary-style series, Gold Coast Cops, which follows the Rapid Action and Patrols (RAP) group as it battles bikies and organised crime on the glitter strip.
Acting mayor Donna Gates is angry that Gold Coast City Council was not consulted, adding the TV series could turn off potential visitors.
“My concern is the negative perception of the Gold Coast that may be created by that series,” she told AAP.
“We don’t want our city to be seen in the light of a crime hub. It’s not.”
But Acting Tourism Minister Tracy Davis said the series would have the opposite effect.
“The program would highlight the hard work of Queensland police to reduce crime on the Gold Coast and make it a better place to visit,” she told AAP through a spokeswoman.
Network Ten is yet to announce an air date for the series, which is being made by Eyeworks Australia, the Sydney-based production company behind Ten’s 2012 ratings disaster Being Lara Bingle.
But with a Queensland election due in 2015, the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties argues police are being used politically.
“This program is clearly intended to paint the police in a good light, and therefore to paint the government in a good light,” council vice-president Terry O’Gorman told AAP.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey is quoted in a Ten statement describing the specialist police unit as part of the government’s “strong plan for a brighter and safer future for the Gold Coast community”.
But his office says Queensland police, not the minister, decide if TV crews can follow patrols.
“Filming of the television series was approved internally by the Queensland Police Service and the minister was made aware filming would be taking place,” his spokesman told AAP.
Queensland police said that “after extensive consideration”, they agreed to Eyeworks’s proposal in May after it approached them last year.
Network Ten’s chief programming officer, Beverley McGarvey, said a TV crew had been given “unprecedented access to one of the most elite police task forces in Australia”.