Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tribunal blasts penalty for Sunshine Coast police officer's boozy party as 'inadequate'

Cops going easy on cops, as usual

THE Queensland Police Service has been reprimanded by an independent judiciary after imposing an "inadequate" penalty on a Sunshine Coast police officer who had a party with "questionable" people at a police station.

The incident was one of four cases involving police referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal by the Crime and Misconduct Commission in the past year.

Senior Constable Jeffrey Frazer admitted he and several civilians went to a social function and then returned to Caloundra Police Station with alcohol on November 14, 2009 – compromising public safety and the station's security, according to QCAT documents.

The tribunal said Sen-Constable Frazer and others "consumed alcohol in the social club area of the police station until about 4.30 in the morning". "Of concern, some of these people had questionable backgrounds and the security of the police station was compromised," the QCAT documents said.

The officer's salary was cut for six months, but the CMC referred the penalty to the tribunal because of its concerns the penalty was inadequate.

The documents revealed the CMC contended the penalty "did not properly reflect the purpose of the disciplinary proceedings by not protecting the public, upholding ethical standards in the Queensland Police Service, and promoting and maintaining confidence in the Queensland Police Service". QCAT then doubled the size of the salary cut and made it effective for 12 months.

But Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said the original sanction was "appropriate". "Matters will continue to be carefully considered based on the circumstances and penalties permitted under the QPS disciplinary process," he said.

The CMC, which argued the penalty was "disproportionate to Sen Constable Frazer's admitted improper conduct", denied it had anything to do with a corruption inquiry.

"It is not appropriate to directly link this individual case to the final phase of the CMC's investigation into allegations of police misconduct on the Gold Coast – namely this week's public hearing exploring systemic organisational issues identified by Operation Tesco," a spokeswoman said.


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