QUEENSLAND police and frontline authorities are boosting their COVID-19 response, with a warning that the pandemic is far from over.
As well as strict border checks, police are out and about ensuring churches, sports clubs and pubs adhere to the latest social distancing restrictions, and more specialist domestic violence workers are being deployed.
One in nearly every 10 police will be assigned to the coronavirus pandemic response for the foreseeable future.
An internal memo sent to all Queensland Police Service staff, pleads with command posts to support the special COVID-response that could impact operational decisions for the “foreseeable future”.
In the email, obtained by the ABC, State Disaster Co-ordinator and Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said at least nine per cent of staff from all areas, across each region, would be allocated to the crisis duty.
“Our ‘business as usual’ has changed and we are operating and living in challenging times – we may not even be halfway through this fight – it is far from over,” Mr Gollschewski said in the email.
“Failure to keep the virus out of our community will see the reintroduction of harsher restrictions for all of us – this is a responsibility of our entire organisation.”
The Queensland Government has ordered extra domestic violence workers be embedded at five police stations in south east Queensland, on top of specialist DV staff already based at some stations.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said boosting DV services would cost an extra $540,000 and was needed in response to the enormous demand placed on police to respond to reports of domestic violence.
Eight high-risk domestic and family violence teams operating across Queensland will also receive a funding boost to help co-ordinate their efforts.
The services are located in Cairns, Mackay, Cherbourg, Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan – Beenleigh.
“They’re saving at-risk Queenslanders from imminent and extreme danger,” Ms Farmer said.
As part of Queensland’s COVID-19 protection, dozens of Australian Defence Force personnel have been redeployed to Queensland’s border crossing on the Gold Coast as interstate visitors arrive, causing lengthy delays.
Queensland police issued 600,000 passes last week.
The surge of coronavirus cases in Victoria and New South Wales has seen 60 soldiers from Brisbane’s Enoggera Barracks deployed on the border to ensure that anyone travelling from interstate hotspots does not enter Queensland.
There are about 500 ADF members helping the Queensland Government’s coronavirus response across the state.