Cops clock up $235k in overtime
NEARLY 300 police officers and police liaison officers have been paid overtime as part of a controversial multimillion-dollar program that involved them taking young offenders to sporting events and other recreational activities.
Data revealed through a state parliament question on notice revealed a total of $315,000 of Operation Regenerate's $9.41 million budget had been spent across the state.
Of that, $235,000 has been spent on rostered overtime for 284 police officers and police liaison officers to "monitor, supervise and conduct bail curfew checks" on 64 at-risk young people.
Opposition police spokesman Trevor Watts said the "staggering" $9.41 million Operation Regenerate budget could "easily pay for" an extra 70 full time police officers instead.
"Townsville residents want a stronger police beat, not kindergarten cops," he said.
The State Government in December announced a "broadening" of Operation Regenerate in Townsville, with police liaison officers taking the lead on mentoring work while police officers focused on bail and curfew checks.
This came as the program was slammed by police officers, the opposition and Townsville MP Scott Stewart as "not the best thing police could be doing with their time".
A number of alleged young offenders also continued to offend while on the program, including two that were booted permanently.
Police Minister Mark Ryan has said that Operation Regenerate was in "its infancy" and would be constantly reviewed to analyse its effectiveness.