Single-officer police station effectiveness in regional Queensland: A quantitative, work-based study of service delivery for the Townsville Western Patrol Group

PhD by Publication


Cavanagh, Dean M.. 2022. Single-officer police station effectiveness in regional Queensland: A quantitative, work-based study of service delivery for the Townsville Western Patrol Group. PhD by Publication Master of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/yw6zv
Title

Single-officer police station effectiveness in regional Queensland: A quantitative, work-based study of service delivery for the Townsville Western Patrol Group

TypePhD by Publication
AuthorsCavanagh, Dean M.
Supervisor
1. FirstDr Lee Fergusson
2. SecondDr Shayne Baker
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Professional Studies
Number of Pages133
Year2022
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/yw6zv
Abstract

This work-based study was conducted in the field of law enforcement within the context of Single-Officer Police Stations (SOPS) in the Queensland Police Service (QPS). The study focused on the effectiveness of the service delivery within SOPS with consideration into the unique policing role performed in rural environments. Utilising a quantitative method to collect and analyse data, two surveys were utilised to fill information gaps regarding police tasking, police legitimacy, satisfaction with police, feelings of community safety, staffing numbers, contact with police, policing autonomy, officer welfare and service delivery. The research identified that when compared to Two-Officer Police Stations (TOPS), organisational structures within the QPS that utilise SOPS are not the most effective option to deliver policing services, and do not adequately achieve QPS performance indicators. Effective service delivery requires maximising positive and informal contacts with the community, and increasing visibility and presence, which in-turn improves the public’s perception of safety. Police and residents within policing divisions that utilise SOPS identified that community safety was the most important policing aspect, and policing tasks that should be prioritised to achieve this include spending discretionary time maximising informal contacts with the community. Community safety is not only intrinsically linked to the public’s perception of safety, but also to police legitimacy and satisfaction of service delivery. SOPS are severely hindered in their ability to achieve effective service delivery when compared to TOPS due to limited discretionary rostered duty, which is by no means a reflection of the work ethic or ability of the dedicated police officers. This staffing structure results in minimal proactive patrols, minimal opening hours for the police station counter, a division that remains unstaffed for extended periods, offenders that are not taken into custody due to officers working alone and police who are not known by the residents regularly being deployed to assist within that community. It also negatively affects the welfare of the officers within the division, with reduced feelings of safety, increased feelings of isolation, and a feeling of having the sole responsibility for a policing division. It was determined that the preferred option to improve effectiveness of service delivery within SOPS, is to increase the scope of the environmental scanning and allow for case-by-case consideration, focused on QPS capabilities, into the unique and specific elements within each division. After these factors are considered, it could be determined that some SOPS are not required and should be consolidated with neighbouring divisions, or should adopt the staffing structure of TOPS, being an additional officer and an administration officer.

KeywordsPolice, Rural, Effectiveness, Single-officer, Two-officer, perception
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440201. Causes and prevention of crime
489999. Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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Dean Cavanagh - Thesis.pdf
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