Macleay Island has a new police team ‘on the job’.
Sgt David Purcell and Senior Constable Carolyn Gregg are now officially the new police team for the island.
Sergeant Purcell commenced duties on Macleay Island as the Officer in Charge earlier this year.
And recently he has been joined by Senior Constable Carolyn Gregg. The pair are now the ‘official’ police placements on the island.
Sgt Purcell told the Friendly Bay Islander that since arriving on Macleay in February, throughout this time and during previous relieving duties on the island, has had the opportunity to meet many members of the Macleay Island community.
Sergeant Purcell has spent 11 years in the Bayside Patrol Group and brings local knowledge and commitment to the Island.
Senior Constable Carolyn Gregg has taken up her position from policing in Caboolture, Townsville and Hervey Bay and now looks forward to working on Macleay Island.
The new police team believe the relationship between Police, the community and the business community is important to prevent and assist with the reduction of crime and maintain the Bay Islander initiative of “No Tolerance”.
Sergeant Purcell and Senior Constable Gregg will continue to combat major issues on the Island.
Sergeant Purcell strongly urges all the community to report incidents no matter how small.
“As in all places, if incidents are not reported then it is like it never happened.
“And when you are out and about and you see us, please make sure you say Hi,” the sergeant said.
CRIME WATCH MACLEAY ISLAND - There has been a number of vehicle fuel tanks damaged whilst parked at the Macleay Island jetty carpark. If anyone is able to assist Police with information please contact Sergeant Purcell or Senior Constable Gregg.
All matters can be reported through Police link on 131 444, contacting Macleay Island Police on 3409 4722 or if you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
• Snr Const Carolyn Gregg and Sgt David Purcell at the Macleay Island Police Station.
CORONERS REPORT RECOMMENDS MORE POLICE, BUS SERVICE FOR RUSSELL ISLAND
Current police numbers on Russell Island are ‘inadequate’ according to the Queensland Coroners Court.
Coroner Mr John Hutton detailed a Coroner’s Report on July 26 into the death of Russell Island 14-year-old Ethan Stephenson, who was knocked down by a car driven by an inebriated driver George Halford on June 7, 2014.
In one of his conclusions in his report, Mr Hutton stated: “Police numbers should be increased to assist with enforcement activities involving speeding, and drink and drug driving.
He added: "Sergeant Staib’s recommendation of four permanent police officers is a reasonable one." [Sgt Graham Staib is the former Russell Island officer in charge involved with the case at the time].
The coroner also made some other outstanding recommendations in his report, including:
• Vehicle mounted mobile radar for island police cars;
• Improved drug saliva testing equipment for the islands; and that that all drivers on Russell Island involved in a serious motor vehicle accident be subjected to an initial road side breath test and saliva drug test
• The need for an island bus service, i.e: Introduce a public bus service to Russell Island, utilising the Translink Go-Card system;
• Amend regulation 240 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulations 2009 (Qld) (TORUM Road Rules) to prohibit skateboards, scooters, and similar wheeled recreational devices from all public roads; or
• At the very least, amend regulation 256 of the TORUM Road Rules to mandate helmets, and the use of reflective clothing / illumination devices at night time, for all riders of skateboards, scooters, and similar wheeled recreational devices on roads;
• Take the lead in a safety campaign on Russell Island (in consultation with the Redland City Council and the Russell Island Primary School) to promote safe road usage by children and the use of safety helmets.
• A possible adjustment to speed zones on the islands.
In relation to police numbers, the Coroner identified the difficult circumstances for the existing two-man system, that also applies to Macleay Island
Mr Hutton said: “The Sergeant ‘Officer in Charge’ and Senior Constable residing on the island are required to be available 24 hours, 7 days per week, to provide ready accessibility to policing services for the community. Outside their rostered duty hours, one officer remains on call to ensure capacity to provide first response. Surrounding stations provide additional first response capacity.”
In evidence to the inquiry, Acting Superintendent Huxley acknowledged that the most significant issue for policing on Russell Island was ‘fatigue management’ due to call out of the officers (approximately 100 instances per annum).
He admitted that the rostering ability of the two-officer location ‘does not match demand’.
Sergeant Staib explained during the inquest that his attendance to calls for service diminished his ability to conduct enforcement activities on the Island. The then officer in charge at Russell Island recommended to the Coroner that there should be four permanent police officers (one Sergeant and three Constables) stationed at Russell Island.
The Coroner noted that a review was ‘currently being conducted’ to determine future policing needs on all of the Bay Islands and how to overcome present issues in attracting and retaining staff into these stations.
“The Commissioner of Police has submitted that a specific recommendation in relation to staff numbers on Russell Island is not required and that I should simply support their review process.
“He has submitted that future police staffing on the Island will be dependent on a number of factors, that I have insufficient information, and that I may not appreciate the full implications or possible unintended consequences of such broad scale recommendations.
“However, my view remains that the current police numbers on Russell Island are inadequate to keep up with demand.
“Police numbers should be increased to assist with enforcement activities involving speeding, and drink and drug driving,” the coroner said in an apparent rebuff to the Commissioner of Police.
“Sergeant Staib’s recommendation of four permanent police officers is a reasonable one,” the coroner stated.
In conclusion, Coroner John Huttons stated: “I offer my condolences to Ethan’s family and friends and to the Russell Island community.”
[It was Ethan’s untimely death and a plea to Redland City Council by his best friend Lochie McLintock-Hill that saw council implement the concrete footpath program that has now been implemented on Russell Island.]
McEACHAN EFFORTS FOR MORE ISLAND POLICE
Member for Redlands Matt McEachan has been hard at work in an endeavour to have more police allocated to the Bay Islands.
“Both Russell and Macleay Island should each be manned by at least four police,” he told The Friendly Bay Islander.
“I have had extensive talks on the situation with the Shadow Minister for Transport Andrew Powell and Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Tim Mander, on this issue.
“I have also raised concerns with the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, the Queensland Commissioner of Police, Ian Stewart as well as police administration.
“I could not have spelt it out more clearly that the Bay Islands are under resourced when it comes to policing and island safety and security,” Matt McEachan said.
He added he was monitoring the current ‘review’ into future policing needs for the islands.
“I endorse the coroner’s recommendations when it comes to island police. We need more police manning the island police stations, and we need them now,” the Member for Redlands added.