13
Feb 2014

Letter to the Editor - FIFO policing

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Dear Editor,

We welcome the Queensland Government’s decision to not implement fly in fly out (FIFO) police officers into our rural and regional communities. This is a win for Queenslanders who fought against this diabolic proposal.

It is unfathomable to consider driving yet another nail into the coffin of rural and remote communities by even considering implementing FIFO policing, especially in the very communities which governments rely on to derive much of this nation's wealth.

Every experienced and successful police officer has repeatedly told me the most critical element of policing is being involved in local communities.

The effectiveness of FIFO police in regional and remote communities needs to be questioned. Effective policing takes time and trust, can a FIFO officer build these if they are not really living in the community and experiencing life as it really is in that regional or remote area?

In my younger days, and it continues today, the local police were part of our Lions Clubs, involved in the local footy team and were trusted and integral members of our community.

Obviously if you want to know who the bad guys are in the community then you have to have the community’s utmost trust and confidence. If the community is pulling against you and feels better to protect the locals from, then policing becomes impossible.

In close-knit communities if you are not known to the community then people will be reluctant to trust you and the natural fear that often exists with respect to police officers is dramatically increased to a point where it seems that the policeman is from Mars.

As seen with the mining industry the prevalence of FIFO staff is unequivocally destroying the social and economic fabric of regional towns where it is prevalent.

There is an inability of local councils to acquire ratepayer revenue commensurate with the actual population utilising town services and infrastructure, which already suffers from a lack of government funding attributable to Census figures that, due to FIFOs, fail to accurately reflect the true number of people utilising the services/infrastructure.

There would also be significant human costs on police who are given FIFO roles; on both the individual police officer themselves as well as the family and friends from whom they cannot help but disconnect with when working away from home for long or regular periods.

The public money which will be spent on travel, away from home allowances and accommodating FIFO police would be better spent providing incentives for police personnel to opt to move, with their families, to regional and remote areas and become part of the community they are working for.

Incentives need to also include providing adequate health care, education and services and facilities in regional areas, affordable housing and a road system which isn’t impassable after a smell of rain.

When serious situations arise there is a line of protection our police force provides and that should be integral part of our community. We are pleased the Queensland Government has rejected FIFO policing and we praise those Queenslanders who have been fighting aggressively against this.

I cannot think of a more detrimental proposal then fly in fly out policing. If we lose our local police force we will lose a local family.

Kind regards,
Hon Bob Katter MP
Federal Member for Kennedy

Contact Details

Innisfail
P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

Canberra
(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au