Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Original Crime Fighter

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Original Crime Fighter

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Davies

SOME would argue he has the toughest job in Queensland.

Others would argue he is merely a mouthpiece for a State Government hell-bent on cracking down on crime.

Either way, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was an honour and privilege to help ensure the 4.6million people living in Queensland remained safe at all times.

Mr Stewart, who is originally from Toowoomba, was appointed to the top job on November1, 2012, after playing an important, and very visible role, during the 2011 summer of disasters.

At the time, he was not the favourite to take the top job, but over the past year his four decades of policing experience has started to shine through.

"It has been one of the most fulfilling times of my career," he said.

"I thoroughly enjoy waking up each day and going to work. It is a privilege to lead such a great team in what is such a great state.

"I am a very proud commissioner."

One of the first orders of business after his appointment was to reduce the number of policing regions across the state, into a more streamlined operation.

As a result, the state's eight police regions were reduced to five, and districts reduced from 31 to 15.

Up to 110 commissioned officers and about 200 other staff were offered redundancies, a decision that did not prove popular at the time, especially in regional areas.

"We certainly had challenges in reducing the regions and districts," he said.

"It was all about getting more officers into frontline duties.

"Officers right across the state all face the same challenges.

"The tyranny of distance has always been a challenge for regional officers. However, the type of isolation that existed 40 years ago does not exist today."

Mr Stewart said one of the major changes the police service is currently undertaking was the way it interacted with the community, something, by its own admission, it has not done effectively in the past.

"Technology has changed the way we interact both internally and externally," he said.

"Today it is all about Facebook, Twitter, online, blogs and social media.

"We are leveraging all those methods of communication to ensure we stay connected with the community.

"But people will always have the option of walking through the front door of their local police station."

Mr Stewart said policing had changed dramatically over the years since he first became an officer.

"The world itself has changed dramatically over the past four decades," he said. …

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