The huge cost of keeping cops on border patrol
THE posting of police officers and volunteers at border checkpoints is costing taxpayers $8500-plus a week for delivered catering plus unspecified mobile heatings costs.
It comes amid revelations 36 bikie-busting Rapid Action Patrol officers - a third of the squad - are working shifts on the border, which has been closed since late March.
The LNP has criticised the diversion of bikie police to patrol the controversial border blocks but Queensland Police have defended the deployment saying they had the "necessary skills".
Now the Bulletin can reveal taxpayers shelled out $8565 for catered food deliveries to border staff for the first week of June. The 24/7 border patrols involve officers on shift getting one hot catered meal a day, and heaters during the overnight shift.
A Queensland Police statement confirmed in the seven-day week commencing June 1 a total of $8565 was spent on meals supplied to QPS and SES volunteers.
The cost per week varies as the number of staff on Gold Coast border sites differs week to week.
But at $8500 a week, that would mean upwards of $60,000 would have been spent on catered food. The cooler weather has meant police have brought in heaters to keep staff warm at night but police said the cost associated with refilling gas bottles varied.
It's understood the Queensland Police Service has been using a local catering company, which was also involved with the 2018 Commonwealth Games, since mid-April.
In the current 28 day roster ending June 19, 84 Gold Coast-based police will have spent time at the border. Top brass insist officers within the district have maintained their business-as-usual roles to keep the community safe.
Approximately 2730 hours of overtime has been clocked up by officers deployed to the Gold Coast border.
Officers are required to remain at the border site for their entire shift and, to ensure "the ongoing health, safety and wellbeing of staff", one hot meal is supplied to them a day.
"While the number of people being provided meals varies dependent on the shift and day, on Monday, June 1, there were 77 meals supplied across the 24-hour period at the Gold Coast District sites," a police spokesman said.
In response to whether this was a good use of taxpayers money, amid pressure to open the borders, Police Minister Mark Ryan said communities were facing an unprecedented challenge. "The Queensland Police Service is enforcing the directions of the Chief Health Officer in relation to border restrictions," he said.
"I trust the Police Commissioner to allocate resources and deploy police in an appropriate manner."
Originally published as Huge cost of keeping cops on border