Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gold Coast police investigation now reaches into senior ranks

Note that this is the third story about police corruption IN ONE DAY. The government that has permitted this should be booted out. Note further that it took a newspaper to bring this to light. Where were the police themselves and their CMC "watchdog"? And what about the government's own Police Minister. What is he good for?

A SENIOR Gold Coast police officer will be investigated by the Queensland Police Service's Ethical Standards Command following allegations of misconduct. He is claimed to have used his rank to stifle an investigation into a car crash on the southern end of the Gold Coast.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson confirmed the incident would be investigated following information forwarded by The Sunday Mail. A police spokeswoman said yesterday breath tests were taken at the accident scene with negative result for the officer. However, the validity of those tests and whether police followed correct procedure have been questioned.

The Sunday Mail can also reveal that a major part of the corruption investigation into Gold Coast police was sparked by a publican who spoke out after police and Liquor Licensing shut his venue. It is understood the publican raised allegations of misconduct involving police officers from the Surfers Paradise station during a dispute over his liquor licence. A handful of detectives from across the Gold Coast were also implicated.

The publican's licence was suspended in the middle of last year after questions were raised about an "unauthorised" company linked to the site. A police source said the publican came forward with allegations about officers including Constable Daniel Daniels. He reported his concerns to a uniformed officer at Surfers Paradise police station who filled in a 466 – a complaint by police about police that must be filed to the CMC. This complaint is believed to have cemented CMC suspicions about misconduct on the Gold Coast.

Constable Daniels was detained in the Fortitude Valley watchhouse after drugs, believed to include ecstasy, were allegedly found with a group in the valley last weekend, breaking with the custom of allowing officers facing questioning to avoid mixing and therefore being targeted by criminals in the cells. He has been suspended from duty on full pay while the CMC continues its investigation.

In a federal investigation last year, an allegation was made that a detective from the southern Gold Coast was involved in corrupt activity with drug dealers and bikies. It was the culmination of a number of allegations around a Surfers Paradise nightclub.

As the CMC began its probe, Commissioner Atkinson ordered Surfers Paradise police station to be "profiled" along with City and Fortitude Valley stations. Profiling involves every complaint against an officer at the stations being fully investigated, no matter how frivolous.

Before this, it was discovered officers from the same stations had been investigating complaints about their fellow officers. The police service's Ethical Standards Command has also been ordered to reopen past cases.

More than 30 licensed clubs are based in central Surfers Paradise alone and their lobby group, the Surfers Paradise Licensed Venue Association, remains silent about the Gold Coast police corruption probe. The association's leaders meet every month with senior police and Liquor Licensing officers to discuss any problems in the tourist hub.


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