Monday, April 19, 2010

Police caught on camera running red lights, speeding for no reason

ALMOST 200 Queensland police officers have been caught treating the road rules with contempt – speeding and running red lights without a legitimate reason.

Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information laws show 653 police were snapped by speed and red-light cameras in 2008-09. Of those, almost a third were made to pay the fines themselves after internal investigations found they could not justify their behaviour. Decisions are pending in another 23 matters.

In 20 cases where police were held responsible for their offences, they were travelling at more than 20km/h above the speed limit or running red lights. And, in one instance, police were forced to pay the corporate penalty for speeding when they could not identify the driver of the police vehicle caught on camera.

Speeding is one of the biggest killers on Queensland roads and was last year considered a factor in almost a quarter of the 331 deaths.

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said public safety was one of the service's key priorities. "Every time a police car is issued with an infringement notice the full circumstances are investigated and overseen by officers at regional and state level to determine if the driver was operating lawfully," the spokeswoman said.

Under section 144 of the Transport Operations Act, police are exempt from some road rules when responding to a car crash, a disturbance or police in need of assistance and during pursuits and ambulance escorts. "If the driver cannot prove they were acting lawfully under the act, the infringement is enforced," the spokeswoman said.

During 2008-09, the QPS had 2259 vehicles on the road which travelled 78 million kilometres, she said. "In that time there were 192 traffic infringements enforced. This is a very low rate of speeding infringements by any measure." [i.e. most of them got away with it]


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Police who don't want to be police

QUEENSLAND police officers are changing out of their uniforms for fear of being targeted while off duty on Brisbane trains.

According to an anonymous letter to the Queensland Police Union Journal, one officer complained that high-ranking officers were concerned uniformed police were hiding under plain shirts and jackets to avoid attention. "Many of our members travel on public transport and often make use of a cover shirt in order to prevent harassment and possibly being assaulted by some of the undesirable passengers," the letter says.

"I am also fully aware of the reason police wearing uniform on public transport is to provide a high visibility, however, with due respect to those who hold plain clothes positions and also utilise public transport, one has to question the validity of the high-visibility concept. "Members work their required hours and as such should then be afforded the opportunity to travel home without having some grub, who probably doesn't have a ticket, give them a hard time."

Police travel free on TransLink public transport by showing their badge, whether in uniform or plain clothes, on and off duty.

A Queensland Rail spokesman said passengers benefited from police travelling on trains. "In our experience, the presence of uniformed officers on QR services helps to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviour," he said.

"Off-duty and plain clothes officers also assist transit officers with curbing antisocial behaviour, and have demonstrated their willingness and ability to identify and curb antisocial behaviour before it escalates. "QR appreciates the assistance."

According to the TransLink policy, police travelling free are to stand to allow fare-paying passengers to have a seat when services are busy.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Police secrecy about attack on Indian

"Racial sensitivities" apparently. The public are too dumb and stupid to be given important information, apparently. One guess that the offender was an ethnic too -- perhaps a Polynesian (Maori etc.)

A SERIOUS alleged knife attack at one of Queensland's busiest train stations during the peak afternoon commuter period was kept quiet by authorities. The Courier-Mail has learnt that an Indian man's throat was slashed while he waited on Platform 9 at Brisbane's Roma Street Station about 4.20pm on March 17.

A 26-year-old man was charged a short time later after handing himself in at police headquarters, across the road.

It is alleged the attack on Narendrakumar Patel, 34, was seen by police monitoring the station on closed-circuit television screens. But details of the incident were never released by police despite the high-profile location. Sources have claimed that a decision was taken by authorities not to release details of the assault, which is certain to fuel fears about train station safety.

It also will spark debate about whether Indians are the target of racially motivated attacks in Queensland, an issue that has raised tension between the Australian and Indian governments after a spate of attacks in Victoria.

Police would not comment on the case, or the decision not to release details.

But Opposition justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg said the attack struck "at the heart of confidence of all rail commuters" and the public had a right to know about it. "I hope that this has not been covered up or hosed down by our authorities because of the nationality of the victim," he said.

Police Minister Neil Roberts said train stations were patrolled by 54 officers in the rail squad and more than 100 full-time transit officers and private security guards. He said the clear-up rate for crime on the rail system was "very good".

Mr Roberts also said he had been briefed on recent incidents involving people from various ethnic backgrounds. "Some are obviously racially motivated, however police advise me that in their opinion the majority of incidents involving persons from different ethnic backgrounds are not suspected of being racially motivated," he said.

The man accused of attacking Mr Patel was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and carrying a knife in a public place. It is believed the bluntness of the knife saved Mr Patel from more serious injuries. Despite police prosecutors opposing bail, the man was released and is due to face court again on April 15.