BUDGET WOES: Local MPs say the reduced state policing budget has had a major effect on southwest units and their ability to tackle the ice problem.
BUDGET WOES: Local MPs say the reduced state policing budget has had a major effect on southwest units and their ability to tackle the ice problem. Laura Telford

Police are losing the fight against ice thanks to budget cut

A DWINDLING police budget and rising crime were at the top of a ministerial hit list when opposition police spokesman Trevor Watts visited the southwest region.

Accompanied by local MP Ann Leahy, Mr Watts was in Roma to attend a meeting of Queensland Police executive leadership, and discuss how decisions of the current state government had impacted front-line policing.

Mr Watts said he was particularly interested in efforts to tackle the continuing scourge of ice in southwest Queensland.

"One of the most serious problems we are facing from a policing perspective in Queensland is that the police budget was cut by $44.6 million last year.

"The discretionary budget for police to mount an investigation is coming under increasing pressure; every expense has gone up, but the money that has been allocated by the State Government has gone down.

"Because it is under pressure, they cannot do as much proactive policing, and in rural communities, when they stop that proactive policing, you inevitably end up with more criminal activity.

"What we find in regional Queensland is that ice is a serious problem and we need to make sure police have the resources to be able to deal with that.”

Ms Leahy said the larger state decision had already had a huge impact on tackling the region's ice problem.

"We have seen crime go up recently and, unfortunately, the police budget is down.

"I am aware of the investigative work that goes on to deal with the ice problem and to pick up the kingpins that are the dealers.

"They are sometimes a matter of years, so when the budget goes down, it just makes it so much harder for those people who are at the front line to do their job and actually deal with the impact of ice, and deal with the dealers and the users in our community.”


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