‘Bureaucracy gone mad’: Police 'threaten' worker at QLD border over surfboard

·3-min read

A cross-border worker has been left puzzled and frustrated after a Queensland police officer reportedly threatened to turn him away because he had a surfboard on the roof of his car.

Tweed resident Brian Springfield, 55, told Yahoo News he had been “too lazy” to take his surfboard off the roof and didn’t think anything of it as he routinely pulled up at the border checkpoint.

A supplied photo of Brian Springfield's car with his surfboard strapped to the roof. Source: Supplied
A cross-border worker has been warned by police he won't be allowed to travel into QLD for his job with a surfboard as police take a hard line on recreation rules. Source: Supplied

“The police officer looked at me and kept looking at the roof and back down. He went right through my paperwork and said, 'next time you come through, do not have the surfboard on or I won’t let you come through',” he recalled.

Mr Springfield, who crosses the border daily for his job in Currumbin, challenged the officer, asking: “Why?”

“It looks like you’re going to go for a surf,” they responded.

Mr Springfield pushed back again, explaining there was no rule against having a surfboard in the car.

The officer reportedly said: “No rule that I have to let you into the state.”

Jokingly, Mr Springfield quizzed the officer whether he was allowed to have golf clubs in the car – but it didn’t go down well.

Police check cars at the QLD/NSW border, Gold Coast, Thursday, September 2, 2021. Source: AAP
Border-zone residents are currently not allowed to travel into Queensland for recreational activities, such as surfing. Source: AAP

The current restrictions do not allow border-zone residents into the state for recreational reasons or to socialise with friends and family.

Any resident who has had at least one vaccine dose can cross into Queensland or the border zone for work, education, volunteering, caregiving, healthcare or essential shopping.

“He could have been a bit nicer. Just annoying, so annoying. It got to me that day, it was a bit hard to cop,” Mr Springfield said.

Surfboard threat sparks heated debate

He took to Facebook to vent his frustration over the early morning ordeal.

“Just thought I would let you know what the policeman on the border did this morning at 4.30am when I was going to work,” he wrote on a Border Closure Update group.

“So over it most police are nice but every now and then you get one like this,” he ended the post, which was inundated with hundreds of comments from cross-border residents.

“Nothing illegal about driving around with a surfboard on your car,” wrote one person.

“Bureaucracy gone mad,” another said.

Some accused the officer of being on a “power trip”, slamming the incident as “disgusting”.

A screenshot of Brian Springfield's Facebook post after the ordeal at the border. Source: Facebook
Brian Springfield's lashed out online, sparking a heated debate about the border rules. Source: Facebook

“That is totally not called for,” commented one Facebook user.

While others defended the officer, saying they were “just doing what they have to do.”

“It's just common sense to remove the surfboard. I'd question your intent if I saw it,” admitted one man.

Workers “worry” about being turned away

Mr Springfield said the harsh rules are “getting” to cross-border residents after months of hardship and heartache.

“A lot of people are losing sleep over it, over how long it will take to cross the border and whether you will be turned away.”

At the height of the Covid crisis, thousands were left stranded and separated from loved ones as others battled to easily access medical care.

“It’s a mental thing, they can’t see an end to it.”

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