Is it time for a full service Police Station in Rainbow beach?

Ian Nowell

Former police sergeant with 22 years of service, now retired risk manager,  and over 20 years long service as a J.P. Qualified

Rainbow Beach Police Beat was opened on 22 November 2006.

At the launch it was stated the reason for its existence was due to rapid growth in the town. The population at that time was 999.

The government must have taken into consideration the tourists visiting the area as the difference in permanent residents between the 2001 and 2006 census was one additional permanent resident over that 5 years.

Some 14 years later, today, I believe that argument is even more relevant for an upgrade to a fully designated police station.

The permanent population in 2020 in Rainbow Beach is conservatively estimated to be above 1,300 and growing, partly due to its desirability as a lifestyle and retirement location.

Since that time the number of tourists flocking to the area has also increased considerably.

Current data is not available at this time, however a Gympie Times article in December 2017 reported:

“According to figures from Surf Life Saving Queensland, more than 212,000 set foot on the popular beach in 2016, a staggering 164% jump from 2012’s numbers. And things are not slowing down, either, with more than 203,000 people on the beach recorded in the first nine months of 2017, a trend which puts Rainbow Beach on track to host more than 275,000 by year’s end.”

And that was three years ago – the numbers could only go one way and that’s up.

We have recently seen improvements in the town in regards to other emergency services, namely the new permanent ambulance station, and the new fire station and SES headquarters.

It is now time to progress to a permanent police station at Rainbow Beach with all the facilities that other towns enjoy.

The visitors are not just coming to Rainbow Beach during peak holiday periods – there has been a continual build up in visitors from Australia and overseas, together with people travelling to the area on weekends. Increasing numbers of backpackers are also a constant in Rainbow Beach.

The attached is a list of only some of the many Queensland towns that have permanent police stations, the data was taken from the 2016 census. Few of these towns have the high population fluctuations that Rainbow Beach experiences although some have larger geographical areas to cover.

Populations in some of these towns have actually decreased since the census but the full time police stations remain.

Rainbow Beach may be a small area geographically but that also means that there is a huge increase in population per square kilometre at these peak times. The following historical argument regarding allocation of resources based on area is relevant:

During the course of the 1993 Commonwealth grants commission hearing, the Queensland government questioned the existence of a simple correlation between high crime rates and urbanisation, claiming that rapidly growing fringe areas and tourist areas were more likely to foster higher crime rates than areas characterised merely by high population densities. At a conference on Law and Order issues held in Sydney in June 1992 by the Commission, Queensland cited a “lack of social cohesion”, such as can be seen in tourist areas, as an important determinant of high crime rates and claimed that the growth of crime was not proportional to the size of an urban area.

Reference POLICE RESOURCE ALLOCATION by Catherine Bright and John Walker 1993

While we fortunately don’t currently have the high crime rate of some other tourist areas, we have all still noticed a sharp increase in antisocial incidents.  So we need to act and get proactive now to support a submission to the government , rather than be reactive to issues that may arise at some future point.

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