Council appoints former top cop to boost community safety

Date published: 11 May 2023

Decorated former Queensland Police sergeant Clint Drew has been appointed by Townsville City Council to build on its strong community safety program. The appointment follows the adoption of the Safer Places Townsville Action Plan at the December 2022 Council meeting.

Mr Drew comes to Council with more than 18 years with the Queensland Police Service, including 14 years serving the community in Townsville and Palm Island.

Mayor Jenny Hill said Mr Drew will advise the Council on ways to make the city’s public places safer for community use.

"Mr Drew will immediately work with each of the city’s 10 divisional councillors to conduct safety audits in their areas and work in collaboration with Queensland Police to develop strategies to address known and potential crime hot spots.

“Council will work even more closely with Queensland Police through Mr Drew, engaging directly with local community groups and citizens to develop targeted plans for local crime prevention.

“We’ll use this information to prioritise investment where there is poor lighting, pathway black spots, graffiti busting measures, and look at introducing further community patrols in areas where residents are most concerned.

“The community is angry, especially with the level of property crime and, while Council doesn’t have a policing role, we play our part at the grassroots.

“This program, incorporating Mr Drew’s role, will work towards making our suburbs safer,” Cr Hill said.

Council already has a significant community safety focus with a $6 million network of CCTV security and surveillance including 550 cameras across the city and suburbs as well as a community response vehicle undertaking 24-hour patrols 7 days per week. The cameras and the community response vehicle act as a deterrent to crime and support Police in responding to incidents across the city.

Cr Hill said $15 million was invested last year for youth services and infrastructure to keep young people positively engaged with their community.

“This provides a more holistic approach to community safety, “ Cr Hill said.

The rollout of Council’s Boulder Protection Program for parks and sporting grounds has been applauded by clubs and community organisations.  The program supports public safety at several suburban sporting fields across the city and has led to a significant reduction in criminal damage at those locations.

Mr Drew will engage heavily with various community groups as well as the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance and community service providers.