Almost a third of state's police to be taken off their beat
ALMOST a third of Queensland's police will be sent away during the Commonwealth Games, with one top criminal lawyer warning the move could lead to a wave of petty-crime.
A total of 3700 officers will be sent from regional stations across the state to the Gold Coast, and other Commonwealth Games sites, from April 4 to April 15 - in an effort to bolster law enforcement numbers around the massive sporting event.
The remaining 8115 police left to hold the fort will not be allowed to take leave during that period - a move the Queensland Police Service says will mean it business as usual at its stations.
But criminal lawyer Bill Potts is blowing the whistle, saying small-time crime won't be properly investigated.
To date the QPS has declined to breakdown which stations will supply officers to police the Games.
"I suspect what you're going to see…is that there won't be the same amount of investigation on ordinary domestic crime, by that I mean motor vehicle accidents, break and enters, shoplifting, all those sorts of things, because police will be more concerned with potential terrorism and the like," Mr Potts said
"People might think oh well you know that's a few crooks they can lay in jail for a few weeks, but it's not that, it's the victims of crime … the witnesses who will find their matters won't be able to be dealt with for some time."
Mr Potts said the impacts would not be limited to officers on the beat either, with a number of magistrates and district courts directed to not hold criminal trials during the Games because police would not be there to provide witness statements.
"I appreciate there will be some disruption but I have a considerable concern that the level of disruption is going to be much, much longer than the 11 days of the Games," Mr Potts said.
"It's going to effectively drain the lifeblood out of the criminal justice system, because the police who bring the charges and do the investigations, at least during that period of time, won't be prosecuting substantially … because of the drain on their resources."
Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor said while the Commonwealth Games were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state, there was "no doubt" delays would occur in the courts.
"A backlog will exist, and we must appreciate the extra time some cases will take following the closures," he said.
"Our judiciary carry out a difficult, time-consuming and key role in our justice system, and they are already up against increasing workloads."
A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Magistrate said substantial planning had been done to ensure minimal disruption to the courts and "extra sitting days" would be allocated to clear backlog as necessary.