Nothing But Praise for Pine Rivers Thin Blue Line

22/09/2013

I will never again entertain those who hold the opinion that our police spend too much time on trivial matters while the ‘real crooks' go free. I will never again allow the suggestion that police are too focused on revenue raising to go unchallenged.

After spending a Saturday night out the streets with some of Pine Rivers and Brisbane North's thin blue line, I cannot speak highly enough of the commitment and dedication they show to our community.

As I stood talking with officers at an RBT station on Anzac Avenue at North Lakes, I commented that it must be tough doing RBTs on cold, wet winter nights. One officer simply shrugged his shoulders and responded "cold, hot, wet, it doesn't matter to us - we've got a job to do". I took comfort from the response.

A few things became apparent to me, particularly after spending a couple of hours at the RBTs. The technology available to the Queensland Police Service to instantaneously identify vehicles and drivers is a valuable asset. In the time it takes a driver to blow into the small plastic tube, officers on site can identify if the car is unregistered, if the driver is potentially disqualified from driving or any other number of sins. This makes an RBT much more effective than just being a tool to catch drunk or drug drivers. In my opinion it also vindicates the recent decision of our government to scrap registration stickers.

Whilst I was impressed by the technology, I was floored by the sheer volume of drivers driving unregistered vehicles, driving unlicensed or driving whilst disqualified from driving. Judging by the responses from drivers, most of them were fully aware that they were driving illegally. One of the officers, commenting on the new mobile number plate recognition technology, told me that on some days they identify so many unregistered/disqualified cars and drivers they simply can't process them all.

Which leads into my last observation - we simply don't have enough police to meet community expectations. I witnessed that there sometimes aren't enough police available to respond quickly to the calls reporting stolen cars, parties out of control or noise complaints. The serious offences naturally are prioritised, but where does that leave the family who have arrived home to find their home has been burgled, and they have to wait many hours for the police to arrive? In the scheme of things it may be a less urgent situation, but for that family who feels invaded, it is a horrific experience, made worse by the wait. Our government has committed to an extra 1,100 police on the beat within four years. Will it be enough? Of course not, but it's a start. We need more police, and better resourced police, and it should be at the forefront of every government's agenda.

Admittedly I only experienced the tip of the iceberg during my solitary shift. I didn't have to sit with officers as they completed their paperwork at the end of their shift; I didn't have to undertake the mandatory training sessions to keep them up to date with changing legislation; I didn't have to take any abuse for just doing my job; I didn't have to sit with a grieving family having to come to terms with the loss of their five year old son whilst they were on a family bike ride. But I must reiterate the sense of pride and security I felt because these dedicated officers of the Pine Rivers Police Patrol Group and the Brisbane North Region are watching over our community, day and night.