LNP claims of police cuts are 'false': Police Minister
THE State Government has hit back at the LNP after party leader Deb Frecklington claimed significant cutbacks to police personnel in the Wide Bay Burnett was placing the safety of the community "at risk".
A statement released by the office of Ms Frecklington claimed statistics showed the number of police in the region had been cut from 432 in June 2016, to 391 in 2018.
Ms Frecklington said the "savage cuts" from Labor occurred while the Wide Bay was in the middle of a "massive crime wave". She said the Premier was "effectively asking our frontline police to do more with less".
"This is clearly a broken election commitment from Labor and shows their contempt for Bundaberg residents," Ms Frecklington said.
LNP Shadow Police Minister Trevor Watts called for the Premier to "sack her embattled Police Minister" Mark Ryan. Member for Bundaberg David Batt, a former officer, called for the government to "start showing commitment to the people of Wide Bay and commit more police officers" to the region.
In a statement to the NewsMail, Mr Ryan accused the LNP of falsifying numbers.
"The LNP's claims about police numbers are wrong," Mr Ryan said.
"The number of approved permanent police positions in the Wide Bay Burnett was 396 in 2016 and remains 396 in 2018. There has been no reduction.
"The LNP has compared the head count from 2016 to the Full Time Equivalent figure from 2018. This is an apples and oranges comparison."
Mr Ryan said the head count was an unreliable statistic, as it counted the number of police in a region on any particular day, which could fluctuate with leave, retirement or the presence of a task force.
"According to the police service the number that matters is the approved permanent positions figure," he said.
He said the government's promise of an additional 535 police over four years as of July 1 this year will be delivered, but recruitment and training takes around six months.