Sunday, June 6, 2010
Cops covering up for cops again
Police boss has dangerous nutcase of a son
A knife siege involving Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson's son last weekend was kept quiet after senior officers gave orders that it not be reported as a "significant event".
Police negotiators and half a dozen crews were called to 38-year-old Paul Atkinson's house on the Gold Coast early on May 29 after a complaint by a teenager at a bus stop that a man was armed with a large knife.
In what was initially treated as a siege, police negotiators were sent to the scene after Mr Atkinson allegedly barricaded himself inside his house.
James D'Agostino, 17, and girlfriend Amber Walter, 18, were at a bus stop in front of Mr Atkinson's house early on the Saturday morning when they saw a bare-chested man standing in the front yard in the rain.
Ms Walter said the man called out: "Can you call the cops? Tell them there's a madman at (the address). "Tell them it's Bob Atkinson's son. He's the Queensland Police Commissioner."
Mr D'Agostino called police, who then doorknocked the neighbourhood. The incident lasted three hours but was not recorded as a significant event, which ensures senior police executives are briefed and advised of any follow-up action.
Senior police, including a commissioned officer, have told The Sunday Mail that the handling of the case was "highly unusual". They said such an incident, involving a report of an armed man, a senior police officer's son and negotiators called in, should have triggered a significant event message, even if there were mental health issues involved.
But a police spokeswoman denied policy had been breached. "The matter was dealt with under the provisions of the Mental Health Act and by Domestic Violence Order, not the Criminal Code, as is standard procedure in instances of this type," the spokeswoman said.
When asked if police were told by superior officers not to report it as a significant event the spokeswoman said: "This could be the case. "There was no reason to submit a significant event message, as senior officers were already briefed on the matter. There is nothing unusual or inappropriate about this."
No charges were laid against Mr Atkinson.
Mr D'Agostino said he was surprised he had not received any calls from police since his complaint. When he first saw the man he had his arms dangling over the front fence and was holding a knife. "It looked big. It was a decent size," Mr D'Agostino said. He called triple-0, reporting to police that the man had a knife. He then provided his name and phone number.
Ms Walter, who stayed in the bus stop shelter, said she was "pretty scared". "I just didn't want to move," she said. Once on the bus, Ms Walter phoned her mother and told her not to let her little brother go near the bus stop.
One elderly neighbour was asked by police if she was all right while another woman said she was asked if she had seen a woman and a child. One neighbour said the house where the incident occurred, which was next to a pathway through to another street, was virtually cordoned off by police. "They had a negotiator at the front door," he said. "There were well over a dozen police in uniform. The public walkway was blocked off by police."