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CHOGM review


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  • CHOGM review

    Looks like the Queensland officers at the Sunshine Coast resembled Barney Fife instead of the high security force they were portrayed as. It seems that every shift had to turn in their pistols, batons, and flashlights, so that they could be re-issued. In some cases, officers recieved a single cartridge or none at all.

    The Sunday Mail

    CHOGM police 'had no bullets'
    ARMED police involved in protecting international VIPs in the biggest security exercise in Queensland history ran out of bullets, it has been claimed. Four thousand police were stationed around the Sunshine Coast for last month's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Coolum.
    While many of the officers were heavily armed, some reportedly carried firearms with empty chambers.

    The embarrassing situation is revealed in a post-mortem of the event conducted by the Queensland Police Union.

    The report, published in the union's March journal, rated logistics for CHOGM a failure with a mark of 4/10.

    "How can the QPS (Queensland Police Service) run out of bullets?" the report asked.

    "We had some members who were issued with one bullet and others not supplied with any ammunition at all."

    Administrative mix-ups have been blamed for the fiasco, which meant supply points set up around Coolum did not receive their cargoes of ammunition as dignitaries including Prime Minister John Howard, British leader Tony Blair and the Queen arrived amid military-style security.

    The report, compiled by police union general vice-president Phil Hocken and industrial officer Stephen Mahoney, also recorded extensive delays in the daily distribution of firearms to police because there appeared to be "insufficient persons at the distribution point".

    When contacted by The Sunday Mail, Mr Hocken said claims which arose during CHOGM were to be the subject of an internal de-briefing and he declined to comment further.

    But Opposition police spokesman Jeff Seeney said the buck stopped with Police Minister Tony McGrady.

    "The whole situation sounds like a macabre game of russian roulette," he said.

    "We seem to have gotten away with it this time more by luck than good management and our police working hard but they deserve better than a minister who could not organise happy hour in a brewery."

    Premier Peter Beattie was unaware of the claims but gave the police "10 out of 10" for CHOGM. "I have more faith in the police than the police union," Mr Beattie said.

    The police union report also claimed the QPS was forced to broker a deal worth $1 million to pay officers overtime because of bungles in travel arrangements which had police waiting up to three hours to be transported about the Coast.

    Acting director of the police media branch Superintendent Paul Stewart said police travelling to CHOGM were issued with ammunition when they arrived on the Sunshine Coast. "Any identified shortages were replaced immediately," he said. "It is acknowledged there were some delays in transport. These were rectified as soon as possible."

    Supt Stewart said police provided an "exceptional service" during CHOGM which received praise from all levels of government and the public.

    [ 04-01-2002: Message edited by: TxShooter ]

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