Use the force to beat bikies says union
Queensland's police should officially be known as a 'force' to give officers more authority as they battle the state's bikie gangs, a union leader says.
The president of Queensland Police Union, Ian Leavers, is calling for the Queensland Police Service to be renamed the Queensland Police Force, the better to represent its role in fighting serious organised crime.
He says many people unofficially call them a force anyway and the change would reflect their current role in Queensland.
With high-profile operations against bikies in the state, the name change would give officers more authority, he says.
'We need to be reckoned with,' Mr Leavers told ABC Radio on Monday.
'We have started to see (that) the criminal element out there have no respect for the police and we are seeing the police viciously attacked on a regular basis.
'I think we need to be known as a force, it gives us that authority and I think in many ways, not just policing, people need to respect authority no matter what area of the community.'
Only the Northern Territory and New South Wales agencies refer to themselves as forces, the rest refer to themselves only as 'police'.
Mr Leavers called last year for all frontline police to be given semi-automatic assault rifles and body armour as the clampdown on outlaw bikies gained pace.
But his proposed name change may prove more controversial.
Queensland once had a 'police force', but it was rebranded a service after the Fitzgerald Inquiry uncovered serious corruption 25 years ago.
Mr Leavers says the force is more open and accountable now than ever.
He claims the support of 90 per cent of officers and says that the public will support him, too.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said he was open to suggestions about a name change.
There would need to be considerations of what the name would be, as well as the cost and implications of changing it, he said.
'I think there needs to be a really sensible debate about this issue,' he told ABC Radio.