Border
Border

Extended shifts for cops on border blockade

POLICE are considering extended shifts to stop Victorians from entering the Queensland-NSW border is open, sparking concerns about a budget overtime blowout and fatigue for officers.

The Bulletin can reveal one of the options being considered by police, in response to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk opening up the borders to all domestic travellers apart from Victorians on July 10, is longer shifts to prevent local police stations being closed due to no staff.

Police remain at border closures in Coolangatta due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Pics Adam Head
Police remain at border closures in Coolangatta due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Pics Adam Head

A police source told The Bulletin: "They are considering police working 12 hour shifts. There will be four hours each shift on overtime. If they do this, the overtime bill will run into millions of dollars."

A report in May detailed how child protection investigators and homicide detectives were being dragged off the front line to man interstate checkpoints.

The operation at that stage was costing an estimated $1.5 million a month.

The source today confirmed police had yet to finalise a new plan, and were "crunching the numbers" on how they could deliver a solution, faced with 17 border crossings on the Coast.

A Queensland entry pass is currently required with drivers displaying the certificate on the windscreen of their vehicle.

The border checks at Coolangatta. Pic Adam Head.
The border checks at Coolangatta. Pic Adam Head.

The Bulletin in a report today said some police described the practicalities of enforcing the new border restrictions as "a debacle", predicting traffic would be backed up from the Tweed to Newcastle if checks were made on every vehicle.

A police source today admitted the easiest option for officers would be for another sticker on the vehicle which claimed the driver was not from Victoria.

But the source conceded police would have no idea, without a vehicle check, on whether the driver had falsified the sticker and whether passengers had filled out forms showing they were not Victoria.

Police remain at border closures in Coolangatta due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Pic Adam Head.
Police remain at border closures in Coolangatta due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Pic Adam Head.

Once Victorian drivers who entered the State illegally, they could return across to NSW and not face prosecution.

"You can't extradite anyone over a $4000 fine. They have enough trouble getting accused murderers back now," the source said.

The Bulletin has approached the Police Minister Mark Ryan for comment. Police are due to hold a media conference shortly to address the issues.

Originally published as Extended shifts for cops on border blockade


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