News

Keeping the streets safe in the small hours

Hervey Bay police officers Senior Constable Mick Bleakley, Constable Sarah Green, Police Liaison Officer Goomblar Shillingsworth, Constable Leigh Nancarrow and Constable Pete Smith support the Chronicle's #HandsOff campaign.
Hervey Bay police officers Senior Constable Mick Bleakley, Constable Sarah Green, Police Liaison Officer Goomblar Shillingsworth, Constable Leigh Nancarrow and Constable Pete Smith support the Chronicle's #HandsOff campaign. Alistair Brightman

WHEN most families are fast asleep, Mick Bleakley is one of the many officers leaving his behind to start a gruelling 10pm-6am night shift.

For seven nights, every five weeks, he is effectively "alienated" from his family, going to sleep when his soon-to-be wife and baby daughter are waking up.

It's a shift which, 14 years ago, changed a first-year constable's purpose as a policeman and one which has since gone on to expose him to the kind of ugliness at the heart of the Chronicle's #HandsOff campaign.

Snr Const Bleakley had only just left the academy when he was confronted with a scene that has never left him.

A young man, about the same age, had been assaulted outside a Hervey Bay pub and was lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Training had prepared him for dealing with trauma, but as he stood on the path and looked at the victim, he was overcome.

"I hadn't expected the amount of blood or what it would look like," Snr Const Bleakley said.

"It was almost glowing red and on a grey background it just didn't look real."

The victim survived, but not without serious injury, and following a stint out west, Snr Const Bleakley returned to Hervey Bay where curbing alcohol-related violence has been at the centre of his job ever since.

As Liquor Accord representative, he has been instrumental in overseeing government-based and uniquely local measures.

While violence can occur at any time, it's the night shift that sees drug and alcohol fuelled rage at its peak.

Encounters with intoxicated people can sometimes prove amusing - most recently Snr Const Bleakley had to help a woman who believed she was a "walnut sailing on the ocean" - but the scourge of alcohol and drugs can bring out the worst in people who would not otherwise draw the attention of police.

Snr Const Bleakley said, while assaults were on the decline, the message seemed not to be getting across to a minority who continued to risk their lives and the lives of others.

Often tasked with the heavy burden of informing a family of the death of a relative, Snr Const Bleakley said while he had dealt with many a near-fatal assault, he was grateful to have never seen a young person die as a result of assault - and he hopes he never has to.

"There is nothing quite as difficult as turning up at a doorstep and telling someone their loved one is not coming home," he said.

"Research, education and the example of those whose lives have been lost around the country are slowly making a difference but there doesn't seem to be a clear answer."

Topics:  campaign fraser coast chronicle #handsoff hervey bay police safety violence



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Eight things to do on the Fraser Coast this weekend

THIS WEEKEND: Hervey Bay library Rattle & Rhyme morning for mums and children under two. Hannah Udovisi and 5 month old Maya learn about reading books.

Things to do on the Fraser Coast this weekend.

10 jobs up for grabs on the Fraser Coast right now

Need a job? Check out this list of employment opportunities.

Chamber supports wi-fi plan regardless of election result

Kingston Hervey Bay was named the winner of the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Chambers of Commerce \"Light Up The Fraser Coast\" competition. Kingston Hervey Bay donated the prizemoney to We Care 2.From left: Pastor Robert Geluk (We Care 2), Sandra Holebrook (Hervey Bay Chamber), Tracey Messer (Kingston Hervey Bay) and Jan Carlson (We Care 2).

Ms Holebrook: this plan is more than an election promise.

Local Partners

McConnell Lookout closed for road works

North Burnett Regional Council closes McConnell Lookout for two weeks to improve safety, and replacing timber handrails and wood fire barbecues.


Musical to come to life at Brolga Theatre

The wardrobe team surrounded by fabrics and accessories in the costume room at the Brolga Theatre.

Ken is no stranger to the Maryborough music scene

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!