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GC: Coast `most dangerous place' for police

02 October 2013

THE Queensland Police Union is pushing for tougher gun laws and harsher penalties in the wake of the shooting of Gold Coast dog squad chief, Sergeant Gary Hamrey.

Police union spokesman Shane Maxwell said the shooting cemented the Gold Coast's reputation as the most dangerous place for a police officer to work.

"It is the second cop shot during an armed robbery on the Gold Coast in two years," he said.

"We want harsher penalties, we want more legislation and stronger legislation to enable us to do our job.

"There is no room for leeway. It puts people's live at risk.

"It's surreal to be called out to a police shooting on the day that Damian Leeding's killers were to be sentenced.

"Most people couldn't believe it was happened. Our first thought was `oh no, not again'."

Senior Sergeant Maxwell said it had never been more dangerous for police to do their job.

"On the Gold Coast, it's dangerous. You've got firearm offences, bikies, armed robberies.

"We've got more police for the region and still this happens.

"We have got to send a message through the courts.

"We have got to get tough on people with unregistered firearms - we have to send a message that it won't be tolerated any more.

"In the end it puts lives at risk -- police and the general community."

Prominent criminal lawyer Bill Potts warned against any extreme change to laws, calling on better enforcement of the laws we have.

"The Attorney-General claims that tough gun laws are having a deterrent effect, but there there is no evidence that this has occurred.

"The solution lies not in increasing penalties as we do in Queensland but by proactively enforcing the laws we already have."

Mr Potts said police were fighting a losing battle to get guns off Queensland's streets because of the easy sourcing of weapons.

"Lots of guns are coming in through southeast Asia, increasingly through the mail," he said.

"Despite the best efforts of authorities, they've made little dent in the black-market gun trade and guns remain a clear and present danger to law-abiding citizens.

"They are being readily accessed by criminals as a show of force or bravado, or for use in armed robberies or drug deals."