Renee Cluff

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Arrests skyrocket as new police taskforce targets Cairns property crime

172 people have been arrested on 251 charges since a new policing method was introduced to combat property crime in Cairns 17 days ago.

The Greater Cairns Taskforce is made up of 35 officers from the CBD, Smithfield and Edmonton stations, along with specialist policing areas including tactical crime and property crime squads.

Inspector Monique Ralph said the results the Taskforce has achieved has exceeded expectations.

“What we’ve achieved with our previous operations, when we look at those, the results this team is getting is a lot stronger.

“I think that’s mainly due to the fact that we’ve handpicked these 35 people.

“They’re officers who are motivated and interested in this line of work and I think as a result of that they’re embracing the concept and results are definitely flowing.

The officers are split into separate teams responsible for tactics, patrol and paperwork, who take part in twice-daily intelligence briefings. 

“So if an offence is committed at 10 o’clock in the morning and we know who the offender is the afternoon crew have that person’s name and they’re out searching for them,” Inspector Ralph said.

“Traditionally, we wouldn’t have had that second briefing so now it’s in real time and it’s allowing them that time to go out and find these people and quickly solve crimes.”

She said the fact that once an arrest is made, detectives take over the interview process and paperwork, is also proving effective.

“They do the handover and go and they’re back out on the streets”

“The process of the correspondence required in those interviews can be time consuming, so it’s not tying those officers up, they’re straight back out.”

The arrests are mostly related to property crime, but also cover law and order, drug and traffic offences, with an even number of juveniles and adults taken into custody.

The Taskforce was originally slated to wrap up operations by early March, but Inspector Ralph said that’s now open to revision.

“I don’t have a definitely time frame of when it will end but it will keep getting assessed.”