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Law and Order and Neighbourhood Watch

Story and picture by Alistair Gray

The good news is since the recent crime spike on Bribie Island, things have settled down to a more normal pace of life and reports of serious crime events on the Island have virtually disappeared. Not to say things haven't been happening. Still the recent events have brought the community together, with residents more alert to their surroundings and a greater interest in crime prevention. An example of this is that about 120 locals attended the recent Bongaree Neighbourhood Watch meeting at the Bribie RSL. Meetings typically have about 25 attendees, demonstrating Bribie residents' intense interest and concern.

Chaired by the Local Area Coordinator Greg Rollason, the meeting included representatives from the Queensland Police Senior Sergeant James Nelson, Acting Senior Sergeant John Dunbar and Jo-Anne Arthur Senior Constable, Moreton Community Engagement with Ali King State Member for Pumicestone and Brooke Savige Councillor Moreton Bay Regional Council in attendance. The meeting was lively with many interactions from attendees who felt unsafe and expressed frustrations and concerns at the recent events. Concerns included Police response times and delays in getting through to the Police, whilst seeking guidance as to how they could work more closely to support the Police. The Bongaree Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) group is the only NHW group on the Island as groups at Banksia Beach and Bellara recently closed due to a lack of community interest and support.

The recent spike in property crime was not unique to Bribie with other areas from time to time facing similar challenges. It was clear the Police also want the residents of Bribie to feel safe in their community and understand that some undesirable individuals create an atmosphere of fear. Despite this reality crime figures in our local area are very low compared to many other districts in Queensland.

Taking some simple precautions can reduce crime opportunity. These include locking your vehicle when parked and when paying for your petrol and not leaving keys or valuables in your car. Consider changing out the screws used to hold on your number plate to tamper-proof, one-way security screws making it difficult to unscrew and remove where they can potentially be used in a crime. Don’t leave your home wide open, keep your garage shut reducing the opportunity for opportunists to help themselves to your tools, etc.

Police asked residents to contact them first with any information pertaining to a crime or criminal activity. Post on Facebook or inform friends or neighbours later. If the matter is an emergency and an immediate police response is required ring 000. Otherwise ring Policelink 131 444. A job is created in the Police system for non-urgent calls made via Policelink. This message is then sent to officers' iPads allowing patrol cars in the vicinity to respond appropriately. Bribie Island Police Station is manned 24 hours with reception open Monday-Friday 8am-4pm. Calls outside these hours are redirected to Policelink and handled as above.

The Bribie Island Police Station has a complement of 22 officers comprising 1-Senior Sergeant, 3-Sergeants and 18-Senior Constables/Constables. Staff are rostered as needed with extra staff available on Friday and Saturday nights. District resources including Highway Patrol, the Tactical Crime Squad, Criminal Investigation Branch and Child Protection and Investigation Unit, also support them. Our local Police station encompasses the Island, Sandstone Point, Ningi and extends as far as the Shell Service Station on the way to Caboolture. They do not service Beachmere.

As our local Police station does not have a watchhouse, offenders needing to be remanded in custody are transported to Caboolture. The use of close circuit TV, including mobile camera units in conjunction with the Moreton Bay Regional Council, have been very successful in the early apprehension of offenders, including several recent serious incidents.

Sandstone Point Hotel hosts many special events particularly over weekends. The hotel arranges and finances special duties policing, which means no drain on the regular policing resources provided by the Bribie Island Police Station. The reality is the Police work hard to respond to urgent requests however at times, like other first responders, they have to prioritise their responses.

Neighbour Watch provides an excellent way for residents to stay informed and provide a forum for Bribie residents to raise issues directly with the Police and receive answers to concerns. At the recent meeting there was discussion around the timing of meetings, the format and how to engage more residents electronically. If you wish to keep informed about Neighbourhood Watch, email and ask to be put on the mailing list or join the Bongaree Neighbourhood Facebook page. The next meeting is Tuesday January 17 at the Bribie RSL.

School holidays are upon us, so expect to see groups of young people wondering around together just as you did in your youth. Remember when you used to get together with your friends and what you got up to? It doesn't necessarily mean they are up to mischief.

One good thing is that they are outside, off their screens, engaging and relating to their peers and exercising. It’s all part of growing up.

As a parent, please make sure you know where your kids are. Keep them busy and get them engaged in activities. Let us keep them safe and don't let them wander late at night. Let's foster great future citizens by caring for them.


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