Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crime and Misconduct Commission calls for Qld. police commissioner to be more accountable

THE Crime and Misconduct Commission has insisted Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson's new contract make him accountable for officer bad behaviour after claiming the force was unwilling and reluctant to fix problems.

In a confidential letter to Police Minister Neil Roberts about Mr Atkinson's reappointment, CMC chairman Martin Moynihan said investigations showed "inadequate supervision and intervention in the context of operational policing" and "continued unwillingness ... to counter unauthorised access of the police computer system".

Several allegations of system abuse were revealed earlier this year, including a police constable accused of rape and stalking who logged in under another officer's name to check the background of a girlfriend's former fiance, and a senior female detective who was accused of stealing money from the station's social club.

"In my view the conditions of Mr Atkinson's reappointment for a further three years should provide some recognition of the need to effect improvement in these areas, thus imposing upon the Commissioner of Police accountability for occasional and systemic failure in the areas of supervision and unethical behaviour," he said.

The letter written in April this year, which was obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information, followed a spat between the State Government and Mr Moynihan over the handling of Mr Atkinson's reappointment. Mr Moynihan claimed he hadn't been informed before Premier Anna Bligh's decision but the Government denied this, saying meeting notes showed evidence to the contrary.

Mr Atkinson said at a public hearing into systemic issues identified during an investigation into allegations of police misconduct on the Gold Coast, that any failure of professional standards by members needed to be addressed in a "swift, proportionate and balanced manner".

The CMC's Operation Tesco examined allegations of inappropriate associations with criminals, drug use, misuse of confidential police information and resources, leadership and supervision, and acceptance of gratuities.

The CMC released a statement this week saying its relation with QPS was "not aggressive but reflective of healthy co-operation".

"This co-operation, however, will not always mean that we'll reach consensus - nor should it," the statement said. "If the CMC is to maintain high standards of integrity within the QPS and other public sector organisations, it is inevitable that there will be disagreement from time to time."


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