Saturday, April 20, 2024

Queensland swears in first Special Constable

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has sworn-in the first ‘Special Constable’ to boost support to the organisation’s frontline.

Former Senior Constable David O’Brien is now a Special Constable following a ceremony at Longreach today.

Special Constable O’Brien retired from the Service in 2021, after an 11-year career with QPS.

“I initially joined the force in 2010 in Brisbane, before moving to Cloncurry and then out to Longreach as a Senior Constable in 2018,” Special Constable O’Brien said.

“When I retired, I stayed in Longreach. It had become home, I have property here and my family is here. This is my community.

“Community safety is the highest priority for QPS, and that doesn’t leave you when you leave the Service. I still wanted to help. When I heard about the Special Constables, I thought this would be a really good fit for me.”

Similar to the nursing and teaching industries, QPS is endeavouring to bring back former officers to strengthen policing capability.

Special Constables hold the same powers as permanently employed officers and undergo training to ensure they can perform the same duties and responsibilities.

Special Constable O’Brien will participate in casual shifts with Longreach and will be on-call to local officers during times of high demand.

Acting Inspector Chris Smith from Longreach said Special Constable O’Brien will be an asset for the area.

“Having a Special Constable on board will add to staffing levels in both supporting first response capabilities and additional support in community engagement and road safety enforcement strategies,” he said.

For example, Special Constable O’Brien could assist with duty managing prisoners following arrests which immediately frees up police officers to respond to other calls for service.

“In addition to that, Special Constable O’Brien has his own experience in the job. He’ll be able to share knowledge and skills with our current members and help them in their careers,” Acting Inspector Smith said.

Assistant Commissioner Kevin Guteridge said Special Constable O’Brien was the first of hopefully many Special Constables within QPS.

“Special Constables unlock huge benefits for the Service, particularly when it comes to filling temporary resourcing gaps,” he said.

“Other industries and government agencies manage relief or substitute workforces very well and I believe this concept can be extended to our police.

“We know there are a lot of healthy and highly trained police officers with years’ of experience who leave the Service for a variety of reasons.

“If you’re out there, and like David, you haven’t lost that urge to help your community – this is for you,” Assistant Commissioner Guteridge said.

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