Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gold Coast police are the most complained about

An inspector from Brisbane has been deployed to keep tabs on troubled Surfers Paradise police. The Courier-Mail can also reveal Gold Coast officers are the most complained about in the state, generating almost 600 complaints in the past 18 months. Figures obtained under Right To Information laws show 130 complaints related to the use of excessive force while allegations of corruption accounted for another 13 and there were nine referrals to the Crime and Misconduct Commission for investigations.

The CMC is investigating Gold Coast police over concerns that some have become too close to the nightclub scene, including possible involvement in the drug trade. About 40 officers have been subpoenaed to appear before secret hearings. Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson recently expressed concern about some officers being heavy-handed in busy nightspots such as the Gold Coast and Fortitude Valley.

Sources say the Brisbane inspector, from the Metro South police region, is deployed at the Surfers Paradise police station on Friday and Saturday nights. "He's been put there to ensure the boys (police) don't get too heavy-handed and just to generally keep tabs on things in Surfers," a source said.

Mr Atkinson said every police force had its problems. "I could never say that no Queensland police officer is corrupt and would never do anything wrong," he said. The Queensland Police Service receives about 2500 complaints a year but Mr Atkinson said the majority were spurious.

In South Brisbane, more than 220 complaints were received in 18 months, while Brisbane Central district received almost 150 in the past year. In Ipswich there was an overall increase in complaints from 2007-08 to 2008-09 (125 to 143).

Oxley District recorded 182 complaints from October 2007 to May 2009. In Wynnum District police complaints were steady at 74 in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and Pine Rivers recorded 32 complaints for 2008.


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