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Question Time: Will cops in schools carry guns?

On Wednesday 24 February 2021, I asked the Minister for Police and Corrective Services whether the announced police support officers in schools would carry tasers and/or firearms.

You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: My question is to the Minister for Police and Corrective Services. On 9 February the government announced Cairns as the location for the first cohort of school based police support officers in Queensland. Will the police support officers deployed under this program be authorised to carry tasers and firearms on campus?

Mr RYAN: I am glad I have the opportunity to respond to this question because I did see a tweet that the member put out that was misleading and scaremongering and that was seeking to denigrate the good work that members of the Queensland Police Service do. These school based police support officers—and I would have been happy to answer the question before the member for Maiwar bleated on Twitter without knowing the facts—are not sworn officers. They are like police liaison officers. They are about building a connection between schools, vulnerable families and the Queensland Police Service. It builds on a very proud record that we have around having police liaison officers and civilian specialists right across the state. It actually builds on a recommendation from Major General Stuart Smith in his Townsville’s voice report, which said that you have to put more of those support officers in schools so that you can intervene early and you can support young people in making good choices in life.

No, member for Maiwar, they will not be sworn officers. They will not carry tasers. They will not have guns. They will be specially trained in engaging with young people, supporting young people and making sure young people have the referrals they need to lead good lives, and it builds on our very proud reputation of intervening early and investing in early intervention and prevention services.

Since we have been elected, right across government we have been investing in that front end, that is, in the schools, in the health system, in the child safety system and in the youth justice system to support young people so that we can help them choose a right path in life. The statistics show that over the past 10 years the number of young people entering the criminal justice system has reduced by 30 per cent. However, we know that there is still that hard core recidivist group that we are working harder with. Just this week we will be introducing legislation to take further strong tough action against them and we will also back it in with more work by police, additional resourcing for the system and, of course, extra efforts to enhance community safety.

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