More cops on the beat amid uptick in recruitment

Fraser Barton |

The recruitment campaign was triggered by plateauing hires and looming retirements across the state.
The recruitment campaign was triggered by plateauing hires and looming retirements across the state.

Another 900 police officers are set to boost Queensland’s front line as the state government continues its crackdown on crime.

Two major centres in far north Queensland will have police air capabilities, with Cairns receiving a helicopter after success in Townsville.

The government announced on Wednesday 500 extra sworn officers and 400 unsworn officers were set to join the state’s police service.

It comes on top of nearly 700 recruits undergoing training and more than 2000 applicants in the pipeline following a domestic and international advertising campaign.

“We’ve got the largest number of recruits and police personnel in Queensland history,” Deputy Premier Cameron Dick told reporters on Wednesday.

It is the latest in a number of announcements made this week as the state government looks to tackle crime ahead of the October election.

A police helicopter
Cairns will receive a police helicopter after successful deployment in Townsville. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

New laws are also set to be introduced to parliament next week targeting youth crime.

This comes after statistics from 2022/23 revealed this week there had been an 11.2 per cent increase in the state’s crime rate.

Mr Dick said the QPS had struggled to recruit due to a tight labour market but incentives are now paying dividends in the pipeline. 

Pay conditions, annual leave and the attractiveness of Queensland’s lifestyle were pitched in the largest-ever recruitment campaign by the state’s police in 2023.

Advertising on TV, social media and billboards backed up more recently announced incentives for police graduates with a tertiary degree in criminology, social work or relevant human services to potentially have $20,000 off their HECS debt.

The recruitment campaign was triggered by plateauing hires and looming retirements across the state.

Retired and former police officers over the mandatory retirement age of 60 had also been invited back to the front line under a category of “special constable” in 2023 to help ease staffing pressures.

In the 2020 election campaign, then-premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised 2025 additional police officers by 2025 in light of projections indicating 850 officers will depart the force by 2026.

More than 217 officers joined the force in 2024 and the government says it leads Australia in police recruitment.

“We’ll throw everything at preventing and disrupting crime – that starts with having more police than ever before patrolling the streets of Queensland,” Premier Steven Miles said.

Meanwhile, the premier signalled on Wednesday a police helicopter for Cairns and the far north would be funded through the state’s community safety plan.

It follows the success of a police helicopter that launched in Townsville in January. 

Mr Miles said local police, MPs and the community have been advocating for extra aerial support.

Polair aircraft assist police with tracking offenders, surveillance operations and search and rescue missions.

Newly sworn in police commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the additional personnel and police resources will assist in a commitment to ensuring community safety.

“Bolstering resources for police will help our frontline now and into the future as the organisation continues to grow,” said Mr Gollschewski. 

AAP