Thursday, October 23, 2008

Illegal search warrants used by Queensland police?

Nothing about the Queensland police would surprise me

SENIOR Gold Coast police are at the centre of a corruption probe for allegedly using illegal search warrants to raid innocent people's homes. Police have launched an internal investigation into the claims, aired last night by Seven News. Self-styled whistleblower detectives told the station that Gold Coast police made up evidence for the warrants and the raids were used to enhance the careers of senior management. Senior police have rejected the allegations as "a load of rubbish", saying they were made by disgruntled officers including one who was stood down after being charged with criminal offences.

However, some detectives called for an independent judicial inquiry, claiming both the police and the Crime Misconduct Commission have failed to investigate numerous complaints about allegedly "dodgy" warrants. One detective said illegal warrants had been used in hundreds of raids for at least the past five years in a practice openly encouraged by senior management. "This is a major corruption scandal," he said. "Specific evidence is required for a search warrant application but on many occasions on the Gold Coast . . . that information is simply made up. It's unlawful and it's unethical."

The detective said police drove around carparks to pick up random licence plate numbers to use on search warrant applications, or the evidence was just invented. He said the use of illegal warrants was prolific and done hundreds of times as police management used the raid to improve their career prospects. "It is done for the purpose of arrest figures and obtaining numbers of search warrants," he said.

The detective said that on one occasion he had been sent to raid the home of an innocent, elderly couple who were terrified by the experience. A police spokesman said the allegations were "nebulous".