The Queensland government has rejected a police service proposal to use fly-in, fly-out officers in communities that struggle to attract police.
A controversial proposal to employ fly-in fly-out (FIFO) police officers in Queensland has been rejected by the police minister just a week after the idea was floated.
The police service last week said it was “actively considering” the proposal after an officer flew to Canada to study the success of a similar scheme there.
Indigenous and remote communities in Queensland have had trouble attracting officers and Police Minister Jack Dempsey has commended the police commissioner for looking ahead to tackle the issue.
But Mr Dempsey says he’d prefer to send in extra resources in times of emergency rather than rely on the FIFO model.
He also says extra funding will be available in the next budget to upgrade police accommodation.
“From a government stance there are no plans for fly-in fly-out police officers,” he said.
An indigenous mayor and an outback Queensland MP who criticised the FIFO proposal have welcomed the assurance.
Mount Isa MP Rob Katter says many people in rural and remote communities in northwest Queensland had been concerned.
“It would undermine the bedrock that keeps these smaller communities going,” he said.
“FIFO officers may have little understanding of the cultural and social issues within those communities.”
Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey again pushed for a community policing model, already underway in the Torres Strait, which sees locals trained and employed to deal with minor issues.
“Public sector jobs are really important to local economies and embedded police are needed to know local issues,” he told AAP.
Comment has been sought from the police service and the police union.
The Queensland Police Union says the minister was too quick to dismiss the proposal.
While it isn’t advocating specifically for FIFO policing, President Ian Leavers says it is tough trying to attract police to regional, remote and rural policing locations and all options should be considered.
“FIFO policing is an option that should not just be dismissed out of hand without any consideration,” he said.
“The demographics of those who make up the policing workforce as well as the lifestyle priorities that police now have mean that we need to be innovative in our staffing models, not stuck in the past and dismiss potential solutions out of hand because of criticism from those who don’t even understand a concept in the first place.”
Queensland Police declined to comment.