Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A "no pursuit" policy in Queensland?

Police pursuits have their problems but stopping them altogether is just bureaucratic cowardice. Comments from Peter Pyke below, a former Queensland police officer who still has contacts in the service. His mobile: 0427 388 598

We recently saw the CMC’s report into police pursuits published. It proves that many drivers of vehicles which evade police pursuits these days are car thieves who are not to be found at the address attached to the vehicle’s Queensland Transport records. Duh!

Who does not remember the stolen yellow Holden Monaro sedan which was allowed to ram a cop car in a servo then continue to drive unrestricted around the Gold Coast area for at least a week whilst it was being used in crimes because someone in the QPS came up with a no-pursuit policy? I can’t. I’ve personally written up two diabolically insane situations here on the Darling Downs where criminals not known to police driving stolen vehicles and continuing to commit crime could only be ‘observed’ by police, despite late-night and low traffic situations being highly favourable for a short chase unlikely to result in anything other than an arrest.

Can anyone else see the Keystone Cops aspects of this policy which I say is contributing to the number of armed robberies and a general disrespect for police?

Any hoon worth their salt must be laughing up their sleeves at the Queensland coppers ‘no pursuit’ policy. Any copper worth their’s must be fuming. Any armed robber is likely to pinch themselves when they do a runner and the cops have to simply peel off as soon as the baddie puts his/her foot down.

Citizens should be outraged. Part of policing is catching bad guys. Part of catching bad guys is chasing them, on foot, in cars, in boats and in the air.

The CMC report also confirms that the customary penalty for drivers who fail to stop for police who must not fail to stop is about the same price of a big night out for a teen driver - $300.00. Is that a real deterrent? No, it’s a seriously unfunny joke and if police are to continue to be stopped from pursuing stolen vehicles which are used to commit crimes, specialist ground-air units to track these vehicles and arrest offenders when they are stopped must be formed as has been implemented with marked success in some US states. Until this is done, the no-pursuit policy must be relaxed for competent police drivers who have been trained to chase safely and – like me – have performed hundreds of high-speed pursuits without incident. That’s part of their job, it goes with the territory.

That reminds me, why is it that Queensland has no police helicopters? Non? Zero. Zilch? Zip? As I said before, its not cash. Last year, someone in the QPS failed to expend $16 million. That would have paid for two choppers, or one chopper and a lot of other things. Last year, someone in the QPS earned a pat on the head for helping out the Bligh Government’s bottom line. Personally, I think they deserve a kick up the arse for failing my community.

By email from the author

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Police Officer of the Year escapes conviction for drink-driving

Excellent: Now we all know how to get off a drink-driving charge. Say that a conviction would "impact on your 'economic or social well-being'"

THE Gold Coast's Police Officer of the Year has escaped a conviction for drink-driving after a court accepted it would impact on his 'economic or social well-being'.

Police asked for a conviction to be recorded against Senior Constable Michael Froggatt but Southport magistrate Terry Duroux exercised his discretion not to impose one.

Mr Duroux said he accepted Sen Const Froggatt had shown 'very genuine' remorse and faced being demoted and having his pay docked by the Queensland Police Service.

Sen Const Froggatt pleaded guilty today to drink-driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.085 per cent after being picked up in Surfers Paradise following a night-shift at the weekend. He is believed to have gone to the Sin City nightclub after finishing work.

Sen-Const Froggatt has been stood down from operational duties and faces an internal investigation after breath-testing himself before getting into his vehicle.

Defence lawyer Bill Potts said police were subjected to the same 'failure, weaknesses and misjudgments' as everyone and Sen Const Froggatt accepted he had let down his colleagues and the community. But he said the community asked 'an awful lot' of police and Sen Const Froggatt had worked two 13-hour shifts before he was nabbed for drink-driving. "Is it any wonder a man has a drink to relax and take the edge off the tension of working in Surfers Paradise?" he told the court. Mr Potts said his client had also been shamed in the media.

Mr Duroux said he accepted the community did ask a lot of police and took into account character references, including one from the vice-chancellor of Bond University where Sen Const Froggatt is studying a criminology degree part-time.

The magistrate fined Sen Const Froggatt $400 and disqualified him from driving for three months, but ordered no conviction be recorded.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Cop of the Year arrested for drink-driving

THE Gold Coast's Police Officer of the Year has been arrested for drink-driving and faces a court date as well as possible disciplinary action.

Senior Constable Michael Froggatt was nabbed while off-duty and in a private vehicle in Surfers Paradise about 5am on Sunday after working a night-shift. The 34-year-old officer was breath-tested by colleagues and allegedly recorded a blood alcohol concentration of .085 per cent. He was given a notice to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday. A police spokeswoman said disciplinary action was also being considered.

Sen-Const Froggatt is a detective, now working in uniform in Surfers Paradise, who has worked on some of the Gold Coast's biggest criminal cases. He has also been undertaking a criminology degree part-time at Bond University where he serves as a 'campus cop', giving students crime and public safety advice.

Last August, Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson presented Sen-Const Froggatt with the Rotary Gold Coast Police Officer of the Year award for efforts including implementing a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. His reign is due to end next month.

After a spate of police were caught drink-driving, Mr Atkinson last year introduced tougher discIplinary penalties for his officers, including dismissal for high-range blood alcohol readings above .15 per cent cent.

However, a Sunshine Coast officer who was sacked after blowing .235 per cent successfully challenged his dismissal in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal which ordered his reinstatement.

Last month, Mr Atkinson said random drug and alcohol testing for Queensland police was 'inevitable'. This followed a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation into Gold Coast police taking drugs and drinking free alcohol in nightclubs.