Queensland police are being “managed” for fatigue with leave balances “out of control” after cops were recalled from holidays to guard the border.
The government made a snap decision in mid-December to shut the border to anyone from Greater Sydney after the area was declared a hot spot.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says leave balances are “out of control” because of the pandemic that has meant extensive border patrols, including airports, as well as monitoring hotel quarantine.
Not only have officers familiar with border control been deployed to the state lines, police have also been drawn from different areas and divisions to cover the roster.
“The leave balances are out of control but what we did try to manage that, but we have had to bring staff back to make sure they were on the borders,” Ms Carroll said on Nine Network radio.
“Borders are a priority. and we use a lot of police that traditionally have not been traditionally used in those areas, like some of our specialist units, people out of the academy.”
Police Minister Mark Ryan told NCA NewsWire that police had played a critical role in keeping Queenslanders safe, and he was aware of the extraordinary hours they have been working.
He had every confidence that leave entitlements would be well managed and there would not be a shortage of officers over the next 12 months as leave balances were reduced.
“These have not been ordinary times,” Mr Ryan said.
“However, I am advised leave is still being taken and fatigue is being managed.
“Leave embargoes haven’t been in place as they were during G20 and the Commonwealth Games. Adjustments have had to be made at times to prioritise community safety.”
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the state’s strict border controls during the pandemic had only worked because of the efforts of the force.
He praised the efforts of his members to step up at a time of need to sacrifice well-earned holidays to serve during the pandemic.
“Police have missed taking their leave and have missed time with their families because they have been on deployments across the state,” Mr Leavers told NCA NewsWire.
“Obviously, with all police going ‘above and beyond’ their normal duties to keep Queenslanders safe, we have made sacrifices.
“The QPU is closely monitoring the Queensland Police Service’s plan to ensure all police have equitable access to their leave over the coming year or so as we get on top of the pandemic.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to announce next week whether Greater Sydney residents will be allowed to enter the state in February.