Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Police "investigating" police again

Police can act as judge and jury and that's OK, apparently

HUMAN rights crusader Terry O'Gorman is furious that the Sippy Downs police officers who forced a teenager to deflate his bike tyres and walk three kilometres home will not be disciplined.

Josh Maday was caught without a helmet while riding a BMX on Claymore Rd. Instead of issuing the then 15-year-old with a warning or fine, officers took the unusual step of deflating the bike tyres to ensure he did not reoffend.

Mr O'Gorman, the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties vice-pres-ident, made a complaint to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, asking whether the officers could be charged with wilful damage.

BUT the matter was directed back to the Sippy Downs station. The officer in charge ruled no further action was necessary after interviewing his colleagues, Josh and Josh's mother, Anne Dyer.

Mr O'Gorman said the internal investigation was “ludicrous”. He has written to the Premier about the police complaints system and saddled this example alongside the Palm Island controversies. “It is absurd the complaint against the police concerned would be investigated by the senior sergeant of the station at which they were based,” Mr O'Gorman said. “It is this council's view that it is well overdue for an independent review to be undertaken of the police complaints process in Queensland.”

Mr O'Gorman said the whole system had become “tortuous”. “We contend the end result of that review should be a splitting of the Crime and Misconduct Commission into two bodies – a Crime Commission and a Police Integrity Commission.”

He said his other concern with the Sippy Downs investigation was the interpretation of the Police Powers Act. He believes it was designed only for public acts like riots.

Ms Dyer said her son's life was put at risk. “Despite what police say it was not a busy road and while he did have a mobile phone, he had no credit,” she said. “With the whole Daniel Morcombe case in the air you'd think they would not just leave him.”

A spokesman for the police union said they had no concerns. “Our business is keeping young people safe when they might not be able to themselves,” he said. “The officers involved acted lawfully and it (letting tyres down) is widespread practice.”

He said every police investigation was overseen by the Ethical Standards Commission and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.


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