The partnership focuses on the homeless in the CBD

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

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

Approved by Council in June, a key intervention strategy outlined in the Community Safety Plan was the deployment of “social connectors” to engage with the homeless/rough sleeper cohort.

It is expected that PLOs can be successfully engaged in this capacity as they are culturally appropriate and trained to provide response options.

To further cement the partnership, the Council will provide PLOs with a highly visible vehicle to be used exclusively in the CBD.

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

“It is well known that anti-social behavior can have a significant negative social, cultural and economic impact on the city,” Cr Manning said.

“We recognize that while policing is a state government responsibility, the Council can play a role in helping merchants, businesses, tourism operators and the community address this issue.

“I’m sure having City-based Police Liaison Officers patrolling the CBD as part of their broader remit will be welcomed by residents and businesses alike.

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

Superintendent Chris Hodgman said: “The Far North District Cross-Cultural Unity movement in Cairns CBD is another example of the two organizations working together to improve community safety.

“The police liaison officers embedded within the Intercultural Liaison Unit do a fantastic job of providing that link between the community and the police.

“They help build cultural capacity, and although the logistical and planning aspects of the Police Liaison Officer duties are still in their infancy, this partnership between Queensland Police and Cairns Regional Council will benefit to the community.”

The Council will absorb the operating costs of the Esplanade office and provide the vehicle for the two-year trial.

Elna M. Lemons