Monday, September 20, 2010
Gold Coast police face drugs charges
SERIOUS charges are set to be laid against 10 people, including current and former police, after allegations of Gold Coast police using drugs, associating with criminals and turning a blind eye to crimes including nightclub drug rapes. Six police are also facing disciplinary action as a result of the Crime and Misconduct Commission's Operation Tesco probe into Gold Coast police misconduct.
The first day of Operation Tesco's public hearings has heard explosive evidence of Coast police stroking the Glitter Strip's dark underbelly. In his opening address, counsel assisting the inquiry, John Allen, said Operation Tesco was sparked after eyewitness accounts of Gold Coast police taking drugs and being paid bribes by criminals for tip-offs.
Mr Allen said while the allegations were not proven, they were a 'significant trigger' for Tesco which had uncovered 'significant evidence' of police having improper associations with criminals and providing them with confidential information.
The inquiry was told drugs including 30 ecstasy pills and two bags of amphetamine were found during a raid in January this year on a Brisbane apartment where a Gold Coast police officer codenamed G7, and associates including a suspected drug supplier, were staying.
During secret hearings, officer G7 admitted to taking ecstasy, using and supply 'black market' steroids and receiving $100 drink cards at Surfers Paradise nightclubs and improperly processing bouncer licence applications. Officer G7 had also admitted to using the police computer to do criminal checks on girlfriends.
Another officer, D1, admitted to associating with drug dealers and said the receipt of free drinks was 'common knowledge' among senior police. He said Gold Coast police also received free McDonald's meals and tickets to Gold Coast Titans games.
The hearing was also told that the use of 'blue light taxis' to ferry off-duty officers, friends and family to and from nightclubs and social functions was a longstanding and accepted practice among Gold Coast police.
Mr Allen said there were reports some police whistleblowers were 'harassed, intimidated, victimised and humiliated' for co-operating with the inquiry.
He said the CMC expected to lay charges against one current and one former officer and recommend disciplinary action against a further six officers. "Criminal charges are also expected to be laid against eight civilians, most of those being in connection with serious drug offences," he said.
The hearing is set to run for five days and will continue this afternoon with the first police witnesses