ON TARGET: Insp Dave Preston says the Tactical Operations Group is focussing on known offenders and problem areas.
ON TARGET: Insp Dave Preston says the Tactical Operations Group is focussing on known offenders and problem areas.

Police tactical crime crackdown showing in the stats

IT CAN roar down from Redcliffe quicker than you can drive a car from Yamanto to the Ipswich CBD.

If it's near its Archerfield base, it's only a matter of seconds away.

In the short amount of time that it has been assigned to the Ipswich police district, the Polair chopper has made a dramatic and very visible impact on crime - particularly in the pursuit of car thieves - but it's also what is happening on the ground that is resulting in a significant reduction in some of the more serious offences.

Less than two years ago, the Ipswich police district created the Tactical Operations Group and Property Squad with the aim of specifically targeting known offenders and crime hot spots.

Three dozen police spread across three shifts a day.

It might not sound like much, but the Tactical Operations Group at Goodna police station is using its rotating staff of uniformed officers to target the Ipswich district's crime hot spots - and the statistics suggest it is working.

Metro south patrol commander Inspector Dave Preston said the reason TOG was helping to reduce crime was simple.

"About 95 per cent of the people in any city are good people," Insp Preston.

"It's the small minority that will continue to commit offences to serve their own purposes.

"We target known offenders and what we generally find is that if there's someone we haven't heard of before, chances are they've fallen in with the known offenders.

"It's all about infiltrating the network."

Instead of waiting for the statistics to come back, police are increasingly relying on local knowledge to react to problems before they get out of hand.

TOG, formed two years ago, is working alongside the Property Squad as well as the Tactical Crime Squad to develop targets at the start of each shift.

These targets could be individual offenders, or known crime hotspots.

Part of TOG's role is to also identify and arrest people wanted for crimes under investigation by other units, including the Property Squad, which is dedicated to crimes like burglary and car theft.

The statistics for armed robbery and property-related crime show that the Ipswich district approach is having an impact.

Armed robbery dropped almost 50% from 2012 to 2014.

Car theft remains a problem but is down, from 756 in 2012 to 580 in 2014. Drug offences are up, but this has been attributed to an increase in the detection of offenders, rather than an actual increase in drug activity.

Insp Preston said vital ground was being made in the reduction of home break-ins, with the current trend suggesting there will be 350 fewer offences by year's end.

Detective Inspector Lew Strohfeldt said TOG and the Property Squad's much-needed focus allowed the CIB to concentrate on serious offences committed against people.

"My view is that has had a great impact on the number of offences that are being solved," he said.

The police service's newly acquired eyes in the sky are also helping in the battle against car theft.

With Polair 2 based at Archerfield, it takes only three minutes for the chopper to get a bird's eye view of a speeding car in Ipswich.

Not only does the aircraft benefit from night vision, but it can also calculate the speed of a vehicle from above.

There were few better examples of the advantages of Polair than the incident involving the speeding motorcycle on the Centenary Highway last month.

Despite the fact the rider was clocked at 248kmh, the chopper was able to follow the rider back to a house in Springfield Lakes, hovering until a ground crew knocked on the door and found the bike parked safely in the garage.

"Stolen cars are usually being driven hard, so they'll show up bright white on the night vision," Insp Preston said.

"We stop the pursuit and let the chopper follow, while our guys wait on the side of the road with the stingers."

Offences per calendar year

  • Armed robbery - 2012: 70; 2013: 56; 2014: 36; 2015 (to April 30): 10
  • Shop break-ins - 2012: 157; 2013: 153; 2014: 98; 2015: 16
  • UUMV (car theft) - 2012: 756; 2013: 798; 2014: 580; 2015: 146
  • Drug offences - 2012: 1208; 2013: 1860; 2014: 2635; 2015: 939
  • Drink driving - 2012: 838; 2013: 922; 2014: 1017; 2015: 336

 


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