CHOGM was not without incident and experienced accreditation delays and amongst twenty or so access control issues, one previously unreported access issue with a prominent delegate. Sexual harassment allegations were also made against a Nigerian delegate by a female worker at the Perth Hyatt Hotel.
Police and FESA responded to two spot fires in Kings Park, as world leaders gathered at the State Reception Centre nearby. A FESA spokesman said crews fought a fire at the Pines car park and another near the DNA tower. Arson squad officers were investigating and the fires occurred after police had blamed arsonists for another three spot fires in Kings Park days before CHOGM.
During the Great Aussie BBQ with the Queen on the Esplanade, crowd numbers approached 50,000. As would be expected with any large crowd, three people collapsed but recovered, and three missing children were reunited with their parents.
About 150 delegates and visitors sought medical treatment, including a reported 10 with stomach bugs and 27 with injuries. Health Minister Dr. Kim Hames reported to State Parliament that records for 98 of the patients showed 15, including four overseas visitors, were treated in emergency department and four had to be admitted. Dr. Hames said half the patients were from Australia, 26 from African nations and the rest from Asia, Oceania Britain, the Americas and Caribbean. At least 26 patients used after hours GP services and two had to be taken to hospital by ambulance from CHOGM venues. The Queen did not require the use of her special room purposely built at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.
As CHOGM was coming to a close, the anticipated ‘unexpected’ event finally occurred. A third of the Commonwealth leaders found themselves stranded in Perth for up to a week as a result of the Qantas Crisis. Qantas grounded its entire fleet due to an industrial dispute.
Seventeen heads of state were booked to travel with the Australian airline over the days following the event. A CHOGM spokesman said an additional meeting was held at the leaders’ retreat in Kings Park to make alternative arrangements. Prime Minister Julia Gillard escaped the chaos thanks to a RAAF aircraft.
WA Police conceded the approach adopted for Operation Demille was resource-intensive. Of interest is that in addition to keeping CHOGM secure, overall crime rates fell by about 10 per cent and police response times improved across the state. Administratively, WA Police recorded its lowest sick leave figure in the agency’s history. Obviously officers felt the event was important enough to go to work.
State Government preparations that clearly assisted included the change of public holiday to coincide with the opening of CHOGM and the closure of the Criminal Court Trial List for the week of CHOGM to alleviate the need for police officers to be attending court and transferring prisoners in and around the City.
Mr. Dawson reserved high praise for Assistant Commissioner Mr Duayne Bell, Incident Controller and Commander Alf Fordham, responsible for logistics. WA Police have obtained new equipment and infrastructure, most noticeable Maylands command centre, regarded as a benchmark for such facilities in the world. The entire wall of the former police academy’s gymnasium was painted, reported at a cost of $4,000, transforming it to one of the biggest screens in the southern hemisphere where live video feed and computer dispatch screens were projected to enable commanders to make spot decisions on deployments. Examples of planning and logistics for Operation Demille include:
• Flights and accommodation for about 700 officers from other Australian police jurisdictions and New Zealand. Queensland police provided 126 officers, with similar numbers from other jurisdictions.
• Transport and accommodation for 300 officers from regional WA.
• Rostering of approximately 30,000 shifts. Shifts were a mix of 10 and 12 hours with 12 hour shifts operating from 0500 – 1700hrs.
• Transport and catering for training and exercises held across WA.
• Catering arrangements for thousands of officers based in a number of temporary work locations across the Perth CBD, covering 24/7 shifts…
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