Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Qld. Police to be banned from investigating misconduct in their own ranks
QUEENSLAND police will be banned from investigating serious misconduct in their own ranks with private investigators or interstate officers to be used instead, under new State Government policy.
It is one of 57 recommendations from a three-person independent panel into the police complaints, discipline and misconduct system and was adopted by State Cabinet this week.
But Premier Anna Bligh has been accused of being "secretive" by sitting on the decision and not telling police or the public immediately.
The Queensland Police Union also said it was "payback" for last week's wage win in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, which will cost the Government an extra $87 million. "For the State Cabinet to secretly endorse changes to the Queensland Police Service and not tell anyone about it smacks of underhandedness of the highest order," QPU president Ian Leavers said.
"The Queensland Government should have had the honesty and the integrity to inform police of all the changes they had made when they actually made them."
Currently, the Crime and Misconduct Commission seconds QPS officers to investigate serious complaints.
The other recommendations, which are also expected to be implemented, include:
* Additional power for the CMC to change disciplinary decisions by the QPS if they deem them too lenient.
* New timeframes for reporting.
* Limited tenure for police and CMC officers in the Ethical Standards Command.
* Creating a joint CMC and QPS "ethical health scorecard" .
* Development of a business case for targeted drug and alcohol testing for police.
A spokeswoman for Ms Bligh denied there was anything secret about the initiatives, which were part of the Simple Effective Transparent Strong report, tabled in Parliament in May.
However, she would not say why an announcement on their adoption had not been forthcoming and did not deny a decision had been made.
The Premier said last night, in a statement, the Government was committed to releasing its response by the end of August. "There are 57 recommendations and we are giving our consideration to all of them," she said. "What's more I have asked for more work to be done around a number of them, and the Government is on track to release its full response as promised by the end of August."
Mr Leavers said the new system would "add significant costs and expenditure to the Queensland Budget at a time when we need to be spending every government dollar on frontline services not more pointless bureaucracy".