Police Liaison Officers officially moved into their new office on the Cairns Esplanade today.
A smoking ceremony, a blessing and culturally diverse entertainment were part of an event to welcome the Queensland Police Service Cross Cultural Liaison Unit (CCLU) into the Cairns Esplanade Council building.
A joint initiative of Council and the Queensland Police Service, the stationing of PLOs, including First Nations, Pacific Islander, Chinese and Japanese language speaking officers, at the Esplanade building aims to support Council in reducing anti-social incidents in the CBD as part of the Community Safety Plan CBD – Pilot 2022-2026.
Mayor Bob Manning said the stationing of PLOs in the Esplanade building was another example of the collaborative efforts being made by Council and the QPS to enhance community safety.
“The first priority of all governments should be the wellbeing and safety of the community, and as the closest level of government to the community, we must play some role in executing this remit,” Cr Manning said.
“Policing remains the jurisdiction of the Queensland Police Service and the State Government, but we are providing support, where we can, to assist, understand and address this complex issue.
“Council spends $3 million annually on security services to boost safety, including CCTV coverage across the city that is used by police. Stationing of PLOs at Council’s Esplanade office builds on that partnership.
“We know that having a visible police and security presence deters people from engaging in anti-social behaviours.
“But even more importantly, PLOs will also use their skills to engage with vulnerable people and encourage them to connect with appropriate social services.”
Far Northern District Assistant Commissioner Brett Schafferius said: “Our CCLU is an incredible resource for the Cairns community and consists of police officers and police liaison officers from our First Nations Communities, Pacific Islands, Japan and China.
“These dedicated members provide support to our community and frontline police officers in dealing with culturally sensitive matters.
“They communicate effectively with members of the community to prevent offensive behaviour, violence, unrest and potential crime in the CBD.
“They also work closely with local businesses, community groups, security and visitors alike. Because of their role, people feel comfortable to approach them for assistance.”
“This current partnership with the Cairns Regional Council continues to build on the very strong working relationship that already exists between the Queensland Police Service and the Cairns Regional Council.
“I encourage all members of the Cairns community to engage with our PLO’s when they are out walking the beat.”
“We will always continue to review the way we provide services to the community to ensure that we are doing everything possible to make our communities as safe as possible.”
To further consolidate the partnership, Council has provided the PLOs a high-visible vehicle.
“The provision of a vehicle will also allow them to respond quickly to incidents and as its will be highly visible, it can also act as a passive deterrent mechanism.”
The Council provided car is decorated with the ‘Look to the Stars’ artwork based on a collective narrative, inspired and created by a purpose-built working group representing a cross-section of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the Queensland Police Service.
Look to the Stars invokes the ideal that: “As we look to the stars, the Guiding Constellation lights up the sky, illuminating our way forward through trust, relationships and respect.”
Council will absorb the operational costs of the Esplanade office and supplying the vehicle.
Police Liaison Officers conduct patrols of the CBD, interacting with the whole community and offer:
- Police referrals and the return to country program to rough sleepers and other vulnerable people
- Networking with businesses and organisations within the CBD to advise on security, safety and crime prevention, while also listening to their concerns.
- Building relationships and trust with everyone in the CBD, so people feel comfortable (no matter who they are) to approach them for assistance
- Attending community events, festivals, and other planed engagements in and around the CBD
- Support of all QPS units and attend to allocated jobs to assist frontline police as well as supporting Council staff
- Translation services in Japanese, Chinese and Creole
- Assisting the community, including visitors where needed
- Provide a deterrent to youth crime, public drinking and disturbances within the CBD.