Partnership focuses on rough sleepers in CBD

Police Liaison Officers (PLOs) will be stationed at Council’s Esplanade office as part of a two-year trial to reduce anti-social incidents in the CBD.

A joint initiative of Council and the Queensland Police Service, the trial is being instigated as part of the Community Safety Plan CBD – Pilot 2022-2026.

Superintendent Chris Hodgman, Senior PLO Tony Bani, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, PLO Joseph Banu, and Acting Sergeant Chris Mosby. Endorsed by Council in June, a key intervention strategy outlined in the Community Safety Plan was the deployment of ‘social connectors’ to engage with the rough sleeper/homeless cohort.

It is anticipated that the PLOs can successfully be engaged in this capacity as they are culturally appropriate and trained in providing intervention options.

To further consolidate the partnership, Council will provide the PLOs a high-visible vehicle for use exclusively in the CBD.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the partnership with Queensland Police Service demonstrated a proactive approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour in the city.

“It is well known that antisocial behaviours can have a significant adverse social, cultural, and economic impact on the city,” Cr Manning said.

“We recognise that while policing is a State Government responsibility, Council can play a role in supporting traders, businesses, tourism operators and the community in tackling this issue.

“I am sure that having Police Liaison Officers based in the city and patrolling in the CBD as part of their wider remit will be welcomed by residents and businesses.

“Providing the PLOs with a vehicle will allow them to respond quickly to incidents and as its will be highly visible, it can also act as a passive deterrent mechanism.”

Superintendent Chris Hodgman said: “The movement of the Far North District Cross Cultural Unit into the Cairns CBD is another example of the collaborative efforts of both organisations to enhance community safety.

“The Police Liaison Officers embedded within the Cross Cultural Liaison Unit do a fantastic job in providing that conduit between the community and police.

“They assist in building cultural capability, and whilst the logistics and planning aspects of the Police Liaison Officer’s duties are still in their infancy, this partnership between the Queensland Police and Cairns Regional Council will benefit the community.”

Council will absorb the operational costs of the Esplanade office and supplying the vehicle for the two-year trial.

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