Sunday, February 28, 2010

Drug tests on Queensland Police at a low rate

DESPITE rising concerns about skyrocketing drug use in the Queensland's Police Service, only one in 250 officers are screened for substance abuse each year.

Data provided by Queensland Police shows 128 drug tests have been conducted on officers since 2006 – and all returned negative results.

Although 10 per cent of all serving police officers undergo annual random alcohol tests, about 40 out of the state's 10,000 police force are screened each year for drug abuse. In 2006 just six officers were tested for drugs.

The Queensland Police Alcohol and Drug Awareness Unit only tests officers for drugs in response to a "critical incident".

However, Gold Coast lawyers who have represented convicted drug suppliers, say more random drug testing is needed in the police force, especially on younger officers who mix in the nightclub scene.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has indicated he would not support the introduction of random drug testing of police.

A senior lawyer, who asked not to be named, claimed human growth hormones and steroid use was prolific among some Gold Coast officers.

"You have these young men who are super fit. Some of them are using the drugs in the gym and supplying them," he claimed

Human growth hormone abuse is fuelled by a culture of "super masculinity" and the need for some young cops to "beef up" their bodies to protect them from the increasing threat of physical violence on the beat, it is claimed.

Gaven MP Alexander Douglas, a GP who has previously encountered steroid use when working in prisons, said the illegal use of the drug led to violent outbursts and irrational thinking.

"Steroids are being used by younger men and women, strangely enough, to make themselves look beautiful," Dr Douglas said.

"From the use of Botox and amount of surgery going on, people are body obsessed. There is a culture of this super masculinity. But I think some of it (for police officers) is driven by legitimate concerns. On the Gold Coast, policing is a lot different to Brisbane. People will have a go at them."

Dr Douglas, who has treated some Gold Coast officers for injuries, said police were working in a tough physical environment.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Police reel again as apparent joke misfires

AN apparent practical joke has backfired on police after a Supreme Court judge yesterday demanded answers over why a junior officer in a major criminal investigation declared in a statement that he was attracted to "little boys".

Justice Roslyn Atkinson voiced serious concerns and disapproval over the contents of the statement that slipped undetected past police, prosecutors, defence lawyers and the lower magistrates courts – before reaching her in Queensland's highest criminal trial jurisdiction.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson launched an internal investigation yesterday, referring the matter to the Ethical Standards Command. He said the service would formally apologise to the court.

During yesterday's brief hearing in Brisbane, an angry Justice Atkinson said the statement was totally inappropriate and wanted answers on what action would be taken.

Prosecutors told the court the matter had been referred to senior officers within the Queensland Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Courier-Mail yesterday sighted a copy of the constable's sworn, signed statement, the opening line of which reads: "I am a constable of police stationed at the Logan Central Police Station. My registered (police) number is (withheld) and I like little boys."

Details of the actual case, which involve serious criminal charges which carry maximum terms of life imprisonment, or the name of the officer involved, cannot yet be revealed.

The trial is listed to go before a jury in the very near future.

Several senior lawyers and police yesterday said it was likely the constable's statement was typed by a more senior investigator and that he did not read it thoroughly before signing it. It is understood the officer did not play a major role in the investigation.

A Department of Justice spokesman said the DPP had declined to comment on the matter.

The incident delivers yet another blow to the QPS's southeast region and follows Thursday's report in The Courier-Mail that Gold Coast police were being hauled before secret "star chamber" hearings as the Crime and Misconduct Commission stepped up its corruption probe into the Glitter Strip's nightclub and drug scene.

In these hearings, the commission uses its coercive powers to force answers from witnesses under threat of contempt charges and jail sentences.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Police watchdog (CMC) getting sleepy

SEX, drugs, nightclubs and allegations of misbehaving police - The Courier Mail's recent revelations conjure a sense of deja vu for anyone who recalls Queensland in the pre-Fitzgerald 1980s.

Then the focus was on Fortitude Valley. Now "sin city" has shifted to the Gold Coast. When combined with revelations from the Crime and Misconduct Commission's Dangerous Liaisons report from last year, Queenslanders could be forgiven for thinking that the state has indeed gone back to the bad old days, as some commentators suggest.

But while any police misconduct is a worry, there are some major differences between the earlier corruption and the current problems. These differences result from reforms following the 1989 Fitzgerald report. Some of these reforms have been diluted or wound back, but enough remain to make Queensland policing in 2010 fundamentally different from what came before the inquiry.

But, as anti-corruption commissioner Tony Fitzgerald noted last year, vigilance is needed to maintain the reform agenda in the face of complacency and self-interest....

But the area of misconduct remains a problem. On the positive side, the once non-existent accountability has been replaced by a plethora of government agencies overseeing what police do, including the QPS Ethical Standards Command, the CMC, the Ombudsman, Misconduct Tribunals, and parliamentary committees.

Numbers of complaints against police are tracked and analysed, and the corruption that was once endemic and actively supported by senior officers and compliant politicians is now more localised, largely in problem areas like tourist and entertainment zones.

However, in recent years there has been an increasing reversion to police investigating police, as more complaints are referred back to the QPS to deal with.

The CMC's own audits reveal that one in five of these investigations is unsatisfactory and, despite this, there appear to be fewer CMC audits taking place. In addition, investigations seem to be slow and cumbersome. The CMC and QPS argue that a mature organisation should be responsible for its own integrity but experience from around the world suggests that police require close supervision and independent monitoring.

The 2009 Dangerous Liaisons report, together with the recent allegations, suggest that both the CMC and QPS need to ensure that misconduct processes retain public confidence, or risk having all police regarded as potentially suspect.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Police officer stood down

A POLICE constable from the North Coast Region has been stood down pending the outcome of an Ethical Standards Command investigation.

The stand-down relates to allegations that the officer made inappropriate use of police service documents.

A police statement this afternoon said the man, 42, would continue to work in a non-operational role while the investigation into the incident is finalised.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has been advised of the incident, the QPS said.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

The police minister finally finds his voice

I did recently wonder on this blog what had become of him

THE crisis engulfing Queensland Police has deepened with the Bligh Government accusing the service of undermining public confidence by taking too long to investigate themselves.

In a stinging rebuke, Police Minister Neil Roberts yesterday attacked the service for failures in the police ethical standards unit following widespread concerns over delays with investigations. "The delays have the potential to not only undermine public confidence in our police but also negatively impact on individual officers' careers," he said.

The comments came as a new report showed Queensland Police had failed to complete most of the improvements called for by the state's corruption watchdog almost two years ago after it found the Gold Coast ranks were riddled with corruption.

The confidential QPS progress report, tabled in Parliament, showed only 15 of the 36 CMC recommendations had been implemented since April 2008 when Project Grinspoon found officers on the Glitter Strip using drugs, compromising investigations and associating with criminals.

The 20 "in-progress" but unfinished recommendations included identifying staff with a higher integrity risk such as detectives and undercover officers, identifying gaps in ethical training and increasing and improving drug and alcohol testing.

The revelations come after The Courier-Mail reported yesterday the scandal embroiling the Gold Coast had spread to the Sunshine Coast, where officers were being investigated after allegedly accepting free drinks and using their official ID to avoid nightclub cover charges.

The Project Grinspoon progress report showed the QPS had made significant progress in many of the 20 still-unfinished recommendations, some of which had required co-operation with the CMC.

Incomplete recommendations included using disciplinary reports findings in management training, reviewing police diaries and tightening the monitoring of inappropriate internet and email use. Another recommendation had still not received QPS support but required discussion with the union.

Details of the recommendations emerged after Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said last week almost of all of them had been implemented. "Most of them, or almost all of them, were implemented," he had said. "In some cases, recommendations haven't been completed because of the sheer nature of the undertaking and the extensive, long-term nature of it."

Mr Roberts last night defended the delays, insisting Mr Atkinson was referring to the fact that many of the unfinished recommendations were close to being completed.

On Mr Roberts' criticisms of the delays in ethical standards commands investigations, Mr Atkinson agreed. "The process does take too long," he said. "There are a number of reasons for this including the legalistic, adversarial nature of the process."

The Commissioner said he was hopeful a CMC review into the police disciplinary process, due to report by June 30, would speed up the process.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A rotten barrel

It's not just a few bad apples in the barrel. As far as one can tell, the whole barrel is rotten. We have lately been hearing of the scum on the Gold Coast. Now today we hear of scum on the Sunshine Coast

POLICE on the Sunshine Coast are consuming seized liquor, accepting free drinks and using their identification to avoid cover charges at nightclubs while off duty, the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been told.

At least one police officer has blown the whistle on the drink rorts, claiming alcohol confiscated, mainly from people under-age or caught boozing in a public place, was either consumed at the station, taken home or sold in the social club.

It is alleged Kawana Police Station even has a second fridge specifically for seized liquor.

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said yesterday the allegations, which included police vehicles being used to give off-duty officers a lift home from licensed premises and a free bar tab for members of the Mooloolaba Police Beat at the Wharf Hotel, were under investigation and some already had been acted upon.

"For example, one off-duty officer being provided transport by officers on duty . . . is the subject of current disciplinary proceedings," she said. The spokeswoman added that allegations relating to an officer not appropriately dealing with seized alcohol were the subject of a "disciplinary investigation".

"The QPS is a large organisation with over 14,000 employees . . . about 2500 complaints are made against members of the QPS each year."

The CMC is investigating allegations police are getting too close to the Gold Coast club scene, including involvement in the drug scene and bikie gangs. But it refused to say whether the investigation would be extended to the Sunshine Coast because it had asked for more information to be provided.

The Courier-Mail revealed last week off-duty officers were getting free nightclub entry, free drinks and even lap dances at some Gold Coast clubs.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said at the time that some officers may have been corrupted by the Gold Coast's "Las Vegas lifestyle" and admonished any who were accepting free drinks.

Mooloolaba Wharf Hotel manager Martin Turner did not return phone calls yesterday.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Queensland's police "service" again

Three-hour wait for emergency-call response as woman brutally bashed

GOLD Coast police took up to 3 1/2 hours to respond to a violent domestic dispute in which a woman was brutally bashed in front of her nine-year-old son and ended up on life support.

The boy told police his mother resembled "a rag doll" after a sustained attack lasting up to 90 minutes. It was so violent that her blood was found splattered on the ceiling.

Police received a 000 call to a Burleigh Waters unit but the officers were diverted to another disturbance. By the time they arrived at the unit, they found the woman unconscious in a pool of blood. Last night she remained in intensive care.

Witnesses reported hearing the attack start about 12.30am on Saturday but police did not arrive at the scene until 4am.

An internal investigation has been launched. The police media office announced an Ethical Standards investigation would be held as the bashed woman's partner faced Southport Magistrates Court yesterday charged with grievous bodily harm.

Police prosecutor Myee Arandale told the court the woman's son witnessed the "callous attack", in which his mother was repeatedly punched and slapped. "He described his mother as looking like a 'rag doll' while this was occurring," Senior-Constable Arandale told the court. "(Her) eyes were swollen black and she was bleeding above one of the eyes. "The defendant kept slapping his mother."

Sen-Constable Arandale said a "huge amount of blood" was found at the scene.

Witnesses reported a commotion lasting from 12.30am to 2am on Saturday, the prosecutor said.

She said the accused man left his partner unconscious to go upstairs for cigarettes. Police found him asleep when they arrived.

Sen-Constable Arandale told the court the woman was on life support in the Gold Coast Hospital with head injuries, the extent of which would not be known until she was brought out of an induced coma. The court was told the accused had been banned from going within 100m of his partner. He had also twice been charged with assault in recent months over unrelated matters.

The man initially applied for bail but withdrew his application and said he would go to jail. He will face a committal hearing in August.

A police spokesman said officers were responding to a 000 call to the domestic dispute when they were flagged down about another disturbance "requiring immediate police attendance". "The South East (police) Region - with the assistance of the Ethical Standards Command - will investigate the full circumstances relating to the delay in responding to the call for service," the spokesman said.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Gold Coast police dress as bandits in mock pharmacy robbery

QUEENSLAND police are in trouble again, accused of dressing as bandits to stage a prank robbery, leading to a tense gunpoint stand-off with undercover detectives. The incident is under investigation in the latest setback for the Gold Coast police region already reeling from allegations of drug-related corruption. The fake robbery, which involved officers from the Coomera police station in April 2008, is the subject of an ongoing investigation from the Ethical Standards Command.

It is one of the ever-increasing number of incidents to attract the attention of the Crime and Misconduct Commission. The police service was rocked last week with allegations of drug dealing involving several Gold Coast officers - a storm that is the subject of a CMC inquiry.

Since then, allegations have emerged of a culture among some junior officers of bribery and standover tactics.

It was revealed on Saturday that two officers from the Gold Coast's liquor licensing squad were suspended for allegedly taking bribes.

The Coomera "robbery" has not been linked to any corruption inquiry but highlights a trend of officers behaving badly. An anonymous source told The Courier-Mail about the incident, which allegedly involved several uniformed officers dressing up to stage a mock after-hours hit on a Coomera pharmacy.

The officers allegedly knew the pharmacy was under surveillance by detectives trying to catch robbers targeting chemists. It is believed that when the "bandits" fled the scene empty-handed, the detectives gave chase and pulled their weapons before realising the whole ordeal had been a joke. An officer then made a formal complaint.

The Queensland Police Service and the CMC confirmed an investigation into the incident was under way, with four officers awaiting disciplinary action for their involvement. A police statement said officers from the Ethical Standards Command were finalising their investigation. A finding was likely to be announced soon.

A spokesman for the CMC, which is automatically informed of all misconduct complaints against police officers, said that the body was satisfied with the way the investigation was being carried out and would not conduct its own inquiry.


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.


Police drug users

THREE young policemen watched a man in their party lean over the glass table in the Surfers Paradise nightclub VIP area as racks of cocaine were being lined up.

In jeans and T-shirts, the detectives flashed their badges to gain free entry to the venue on a typically quiet Thursday. "It was one or two in the morning . . . These weird things happen during the week, not on the weekends," a veteran nightclub security staffer told The Sunday Mail.

The middle-aged bouncer, with more than 10 years of experience on the door and inside the coast's top clubs, was tipped off by other staff to look upstairs. He knew a part-owner, who liked to have a reputation as a gangster-type, was up there.

What happened next shocked him enough to make plans to leave town. "There was a guy leaning over taking the white powder. There were two racks lined up. The three of them (the off-duty police) were standing around with one of the club's part-owners," he said. "They (the police) weren't acting on this.

"I said to myself: 'What am I doing here?' That's when I started to question everything. "It was enough for me to get out."

The next day he informed his boss, the nightclub licensee who had been off the premises the previous evening, and his immediate fear was losing his licence, worth upwards of half a million dollars. The bouncer, a family man, moved north 12 months ago and continues to work in the security industry.

Combine the amount of neon nightclub light in the Gold Coast's Surfers Paradise-Broadbeach tourist precinct with alcohol and drugs and the lines of policing were destined to be blurred.

Nightclub staff, senior detectives and experienced defence lawyers, who represent players in the drug scene, said there are major concerns about links between young officers and drug suppliers.

What differs from the 1980s-style organised corruption of the Fitzgerald era is officers are chasing supplies of illegal drugs for their own use, compromising their ability to police underworld figures.

"The old days of cops boozing, getting into trouble, is being replaced by coppers bouncing around in clubs using ecstasy and cocaine," a senior coast lawyer said. "It's not just cocaine. There is a lot of steroid use. These are super-fit, young guys. "It's axiomatic that anyone who becomes a drug user becomes a drug dealer, because drugs are expensive and the best way to recoup your money is to sell them."

Bond University criminologist Professor Paul Wilson blames police middle management for failing to supervise young police officers who find themselves walking the unique beat of Surfers Paradise.

Senior police acknowledge clubs offer officers free drinks, but their bigger concern is young recruits following the lead of their peer group friends and using drugs rather than alcohol. "The change has been in the past 10 to 15 years. It used to be the booze. Now it's the pills," a senior officer said.


Court finds Qld. police goons guilty of thuggery and corruption

What charmers they are!

POLICE crash tackled, kneed and punched an Aboriginal man with excessive force before falsely charging him and trying to cover it up, a judge ruled.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission have been asked to investigate alleged police misconduct and brutality in Cape York after the damning court judgment.

The family of Patrick Darren Gibson, 36, of Hope Vale, yesterday said the ruling by a District Court judge, upholding a magistrate's finding of excessive force, was "a win for the little man". "Police can't get away with bashing and bullying our people", Mr Gibson's parents Victor and Priscilla Gibson said. "But worse, they lied about it, slapped false charges on him, and tried to cover it up."

A heavily intoxicated Mr Gibson, celebrating his birthday in Cooktown, was a passenger in a car stopped at an alcohol road block on November 30, 2006. The slightly built man got out of the car and allegedly became abusive before he was crash tackled into a ditch by an officer.

Witnesses claimed police exaggerated the level of abuse heaped upon them and accused them of overreacting. They said one officer crash tackled Mr Gibson, punched him in the stomach, then put his knee into Mr Gibson's back and pulled his head up by the hair while another officer punched him twice in the face.

Mr Gibson was arrested and later taken to hospital by his father, suffering cuts, bruises and grazes to his face and arms. He was charged with public nuisance, assaulting police and obstructing an officer.

In 2008, Cooktown Magistrate Alan Comans handed down a finding of excessive force and ruled that Gibson had no case to answer. He ordered the police pay costs. Yesterday, Cairns District Court Judge Sarah Bradley dismissed two appeals by the QPS. She upheld the earlier ruling to acquit the victim and award costs.

Defence lawyer Stephen O'Reilly, of O'Reilly Stevens Bovey, said the CMC could now move on a complaint and investigation into alleged police brutality and misconduct.

The Queensland Police union did not want to comment but said it had not funded the legal action.


Friday, February 5, 2010

The coast of corruption again

Gold Coast club owner alleges police intimidation

POLICE threatened to shut down a Gold Coast club after the owner stopped providing free drinks and lap dances, a lawyer says. The club was allegedly put on a "hit list" last year after the proprietor decided to end VIP hospitality for off-duty police.

"He decided enough was enough in terms of freeloading coppers," said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He sought our advice after the police suggested they could find ways to have him shut down. He was concerned and had to step up his security as a result."

The Crime and Misconduct Commission is investigating allegations police have been getting too close to the Gold Coast club scene, including involvement in drug dealing. Some clubs are known to fete off-duty police with free entry, free drinks and even lap dances. At least one club is said to provide police with $100 drink cards, with some strip clubs offering officers "special treatment".

Senior police admit some young officers have been "caught up in the wrong crowd". They rub shoulders with bikies who are reputed to control the nightclub drug trade on the Glitter Strip.

Bikie associates have held stakes in Coast clubs and been involved in running security. "It has absolutely nothing to do with making money out of security and everything to do with the supply of drugs to a ready-made market," a legal source said.

Last November, authorities ended a two-year operation targeting prominent Gold Coast bikie gang the Finks. During the operation, run by the Australian Crime Commission and Queensland police, more than 40 people were arrested on 160 charges and in excess of $1 million in drugs, cash and property was seized.

In September, Finks sergeant-at-arms Gregory Keating was jailed for refusing to break his gang's code of silence, after he declined to answer the ACC's questions about illegal drug distribution.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson this week admitted some police may have been corrupted by the Gold Coast's "Las Vegas" lifestyle.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gold Coast corruption again: Ex-police officers sue for $2m over bullying claims

TWO former Gold Coast detectives are suing for more than $2 million in compensation, claiming they were bullied out of the police service partly because they refused to act on illegal search warrants.

The revelation came as Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson admitted the Gold Coast's "Las Vegas" lifestyle may have corrupted some local police. He said there had been concerns about possible police misconduct on the Glitter Strip for at least a decade.

Ex-Gold Coast detectives Kurt Krebs and Graham Cameron have launched legal action against the Workers Compensation Regulatory Authority (Q-Comp) after they were refused compensation for alleged bullying-related stress. They claim they were driven out of the QPS after being branded as lazy for refusing to act on allegedly dodgy warrants. They are each seeking more than $1 million in compensation.

A magistrate this week ruled evidence relating to warrants could be admitted as part of Mr Krebs' case. Q-Comp's lawyers had been seeking to have the evidence excluded, arguing the warrant issue had not directly contributed to Mr Krebs' stress. However, Southport magistrate Michael O'Driscoll ruled the warrant evidence could support Mr Krebs' claim and to refuse to admit it would be a denial of "fair and natural justice". The case was adjourned.

Mr Atkinson yesterday held a crisis briefing with Crime and Misconduct Commission officials after The Courier-Mail revealed details of a major investigation into alleged police links to organised crime and the Coast's nightclub drug scene. The Surfers Paradise police station was raided by CMC investigators last weekend as part of the CMC probe that sources said would be "the biggest corruption scandal since the Fitzgerald inquiry". More than 20 officers are understood to have given evidence at secret CMC hearings.

Mr Atkinson yesterday likened the Gold Coast to Las Vegas and Kings Cross, with "temptations" greater than other areas, and some police may have "succumbed". "With 10,000 police, obviously from year to year some will do the wrong thing. That's unavoidable," he said. While he was "terribly concerned", he was confident there was no "widespread, systemic, organised corruption" in the police service and said the vast majority of officers were honest.

Mr Atkinson said the CMC had investigated concerns about possible police misconduct on the Gold Coast "for years", but nothing had been substantiated. "I believe we've done all we possibly can," he said on the Coast yesterday morning. "Every suggestion, every claim has been fully examined." Mr Atkinson called on the CMC to "clear the air" over the investigation. He said it should be finalised quickly to avoid affecting police morale.

Police Minister Neil Roberts ruled out calling an inquiry, saying the CMC already had royal commission powers. The CMC said speculation about the scope of its investigation risked hindering the probe "and unnecessarily undermines public confidence in the Queensland Police Service". "On the basis of current evidence, some aspects of recent media reports about the investigation are exaggerated or simply inaccurate," the commission's Director of Misconduct Investigations, Russell Pearce, said.

The Queensland Police Union has thrown its support behind those officers who give evidence against police accused of corruption. A union spokesman yesterday confirmed the QPU was providing legal representation for any witnesses required to give evidence by the CMC for its Operation Tesco. President Ian Leavers said it was obvious there needed to be a thorough investigation. "It is in the best interests of police and the community that the CMC investigation is conducted in a timely manner," Mr Leavers said.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Queensland wallopers never change

Even putting a chief of police in jail has not slowed them down. Now it's drug trafficking. Good to see that the CMC have finally got off their fat behinds, though. Given the CMC track record, however, they could still go to water over this

THE biggest corruption scandal since the Fitzgerald inquiry, with claims of police in major drug trafficking, is set to rock the force. The allegations centre on the Gold Coast and are believed to concern some members of the Queensland Police Service, The Courier-Mail reports. The Crime and Misconduct Commission is tipped to call a public inquiry into allegations Gold Coast police have been involved with organised crime gangs, including outlaw bikies, importing drugs and dealing them through some of the Glitter Strip's nightclubs.

More than 20 officers are understood to have been hauled before secret CMC hearings to forcibly answer questions or give evidence against allegedly crooked colleagues. Phone taps, listening devices and covert surveillance are believed to have been used to gather evidence. "This will be the biggest corruption scandal since Fitzgerald," a senior police source said. "It will unfortunately drag down the reputation of the police service once again."

A multimillion-dollar cocaine bust on the Gold Coast last year is believed to have helped spark the CMC probe, which has been running for several months. The CMC is investigating allegations cocaine went missing from a Gold Coast police station. The Surfers Paradise police station was raided on Sunday, as well as another Coast station.

On Monday, in a separate incident, a Surfers Paradise constable was stood down on full pay pending an investigation after a drug bust in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

The scandal follows last year's Operation Capri which resulted in the damning CMC report Dangerous Liaisons. "This will make Capri look very small," the police source said. "We're talking about allegations of police involvement in importing drugs into Australia and distributing them through the Gold Coast nightclub scene. "Police on the Coast, by nature, work pretty closely with the seedier side of the tourism industry and it would seem some may have fallen for temptation and dragged the rest of their colleagues down with them."

Another source said drug dealers were blatantly plying their trade in nightclubs - with off-duty police present.

It is believed key players have not been questioned by the CMC, leading to speculation a public inquiry was imminent. Yesterday, the CMC said suggestions of a "major drug trafficking investigation" were "incorrect". But a spokeswoman said illegal drugs were part of an ongoing police misconduct probe, Operation Tesco, and would not rule out a public inquiry.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Druggie cops?

A GOLD Coast policeman at the centre of a mystery misconduct probe joined the police force because he wanted to fight crime, not commit it, his mother says. Wendy Daniels defended her son Daniel yesterday after he was suspended from duty as part of a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation.

Constable Daniels, 27, was picked up during co-ordinated CMC raids across Brisbane and the Gold Coast early on Sunday. The Surfers Paradise and Burleigh Heads police stations were among premises raided by teams of corruption fighters.

Constable Daniels, a uniformed officer based at Surfers Paradise, was reportedly detained after drugs were found in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley where he spent the weekend with friends.

However, The Courier-Mail understands more than a dozen officers may be under CMC scrutiny as part of a long-running investigation codenamed Operation Tesco.

It is believed a Fortitude Valley unit where Constable Daniels was staying was raided simultaneously with his Gold Coast home, along with other addresses.

The CMC's Director of Misconduct Investigations, Russell Pearce, yesterday confirmed the raids were "part of an ongoing police misconduct investigation that, until yesterday, was being progressed by the CMC in a covert manner".

Although Constable Daniels was stood down yesterday, Mr Pearce said speculation that charges were imminent was "ill-founded". "The activities undertaken on Sunday were part of an investigation that is likely to be continued for some time," he said.

More here