Bikie squad cops on border patrol
POLICE from an elite squad designed to tackle bikies and serious crime have been redeployed to patrol Queensland's borders.
Thirty-six officers from the Gold Coast's Rapid Action Patrol group, about a third of the squad, are being used to man the controversial checkpoints.
The crack mobile unit was born in the wake of the infamous Broadbeach bikie brawl to tackle gangs and played a key role in banishing bikies from the Glitter Strip.
Queensland Police said the RAP officers' skill set made them suitable for border control but Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has slammed the decision.
"The Rapid Action Patrol Group should be focused on drug offenders, domestic violence offenders and bikie gangs, not babysitting the border," she said.
"Queenslanders have been shocked by tragic cases of domestic violence this year and to think these specialist police may not be available due to border duty is completely unacceptable."
In response Police Minister Mark Ryan said more than 1000 police were based on the Gold Coast and extra resources had been introduced for the COVID-19 crisis.
"The government this year delivered a record $2.6 billion police budget, part of an ongoing investment that means there are now more police in Queensland than ever before," he said.
"The allocation of police personnel is a matter for the Police Commissioner. I trust her to make decisions that are in the best interests of the community."
Queensland Police said the 36 RAP officers assigned to the border were on a 28-day roster which included any officer performing at least one shift and ended on June 19.
"Given the critical nature of the duties to be performed and the need to communicate with people, demonstrate compassion and encourage compliance with the CHO Direction, RAP officers were deemed to have the skills necessary to perform border control duties," a spokesman said.
Shadow police minister and former Detective Sergeant Dan Purdie said RAP "resources should be preventing and detecting crime".
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is more focused on stopping tourists and jobs than stopping crime," he said.
But Queensland Police Union's South Eastern representative Andy Williams said the RAPs core duties were covered because teams were doing separate one-month rotations.
"All police are in this together and border duties should not just be left to general duties police," he said.
"All police I have spoken to understand the need for all police, including RAP, to play their part."
It comes after The Courier-Mail revealed homicide detectives and child protection cops were among hundreds of police officers pulled from frontline duties to man border checkpoints across the state.
The state government has come under sustained criticism for the protracted border closures which is being challenged in a pending High Court matter launched by several business owners.
Originally published as Bikie squad cops on border patrol