13 March 2024

Gungahlin's mobile police station shut down due to workplace issues

| Claire Fenwicke
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Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre back entrance

The portable truck had been parked at the front of the currently closed Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre. Photo: Laura Liu.

The temporary in-person police station solution for Gungahlin has been shut, less than two weeks after it was opened.

The mobile police station was set up after the Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre (JESC) was closed due to contamination issues.

ACT Policing Gungahlin officers had been moved to Belconnen, with the temporary office then set up in a portable truck to give northsiders an in-person option to report for bail conditions, hand in lost property, access Justice of the Peace services and see an officer face-to-face.

It’s understood workplace issues have been identified making this option unviable.

“While every effort was made to provide a safe, secure and workable office presence in Gungahlin, issues have since been identified that have not been able to be satisfactorily resolved,” a statement from ACT Policing said.

“At this stage, it is unclear if another temporary facility will open, with alternatives currently being assessed.”

Police attached to the Gungahlin Police Station will continue to begin and end their shifts at the former ACT Policing Traffic Operations Centre in Belconnen.

Those with bail reporting obligations have been encouraged to attend Belconnen Police Station instead.

There is also the intercom system at the front of Gungahlin Station that is available for use.

“If members of the public do choose to use the intercom facilities (which utilises high-definition CCTV and can be monitored live), please have a form of identification readily available, such as a driver’s licence, proof of age card, or passport,” the statement read.

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Members of the Belco Party had previously called for the temporary front office to be relocated.

Former ACT Policing Detective Sergeant and Yerrabi candidate Jason Taylor said the portable truck was “great” as a command centre for policing operations at major incidents and events but not as a front office.

“[Current officers] have expressed several issues directly with me regarding the lack of facilities (a portaloo was delivered while I was present) and the lack of space to speak in private with members of the public who want to report sensitive matters,” he said.

Mr Taylor claimed he also saw a number of “significant officer safety concerns” when he visited the site.

“There is no physical barrier between the police members and the public who attend the location, grossly inadequate CCTV coverage results in several blind spots, and there is no emergency exit,” he said.

“Heaven forbid something serious happens whilst members are inside. This alone should cause this facility to be closed immediately.”

Mr Taylor said he and his part were “delighted” the temporary front office had now been shut down.

“This option should never, ever have been signed off on in the first place, and it needed to be shut down immediately,” he said.

“This is a point that I made to the Commissioner and the CPO last week following a personal visit to this site. I’m glad they have listened.”

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Mr Taylor also questioned why Gungahlin’s policing resources had to be relocated to Belconnen, labelling the choice “pitiful” and raising concerns that police response times would be impacted.

“Why weren’t Gungahlin members moved to the Exhibit Management Centre in Mitchell [for example]? And why not have a temporary facility at the Access Canberra building in the Gungahlin Town Centre operate as a front office?” he asked.

“As per usual, this Greens/Labor government waits until something breaks and puts a band-aid on it, and as per usual, it’s the community that ultimately suffers.”

Region contacted the ACT Government for comment but was redirected to ACT Policing regarding the temporary office. It’s understood that the results of further tests at Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre are still outstanding.

The Canberra Liberals have also expressed their concerns that Gungahlin no longer had a functioning police station.

“With Gungahlin police now having to work out of the Belconnen station, questions need to be asked about what impact this will have, especially when it comes to response times with officers having to travel from Belconnen to Gungahlin which could take an extra 30 minutes,” Shadow Police Minister James Milligan said.

“This latest debacle comes just weeks after issues were identified at the Civic Police Station which forced staff to be relocated as it is also not ‘fit for purpose’.

“If the Minister [of Police Mick Gentleman] cannot provide Canberrans and our hardworking police officers with the necessary resources, he should resign or be stood down by the Chief Minister.”

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Is there a section of the community this ACT Government hasn’t made life worse for?

Gregg Heldon12:06 pm 15 Mar 24

No. We’re all worse off. Just some of us realise it.

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