QCCL statement on Cultural Inquiry into Gold Coast Police

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties welcomes the QPS internal cultural review into Gold Coast
Police but reaffirms our previous statements that a public enquiry should be held.
Queenslanders reasonably expect to know the end date for the internal cultural review and
when the final report of these findings will be released.

Most Queenslanders appreciate that their police force work very hard to keep our communities
safe. Therefore, transparency is essential on important public matters such as officer conduct.
Queenslanders need assurance of a police investigation and discipline system that ensures when
officers are captured on tape doing the wrong thing, the public sees an adequate outcome.
This will circumvent the few officers who do the wrong thing or feel above the law. It will reduce
public perceptions that officers are protected by the system. Certainly ordinary Queenslanders
sometimes wonder if that is the case.

The public, the Palaszczuk Government and QPS would benefit from upholding the highest
standards of police conduct and ensuring transparent exposure and dealings of incidents or
culture that depart from public and community expectations.

It is essential that both public trust in our hard working police service does not further erode
and that internal morale is maintained.
QCCL Vice President Terry O’Gorman has made several public statements in recent weeks
regarding police conduct. Mr O’Gorman called for changes to the CCC review system where
police matters are often referred back to police for internal review, thereby effectively
weakening the CCC overview role. He also expressed concern about confidential civil settlements made to complainants.

In its August submission to the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, QCCL stated
that the CCC could follow its NSW counterpart and create a separate Police Integrity
Commission, staffed by non police investigators and properly funded, to perform a credible and
proper oversight of the Queensland Police Service.

QCCL also submitted to the PCMC that the Civil Liberties Commissioner role should be restored.

Most Queenslanders appreciate that these incidents such as those seen recently in the news may
be rare occurrences, do not represent a return to the pre Fitzgerald era.
As a community we should expect a demonstrated zero tolerance policy towards unacceptable
police conduct and stronger and more public review mechanisms.

QCCL receives at least one enquiry weekly from public about alleged police conduct or related
issues. Anecdotally, some our members, many of whom are practising lawyers, report regular
occurrences of police brutality particularly in the watch houses of this State.

QCCL therefore welcomes an announced release date for the QPS Gold Coast internal cultural
review and the release date of such findings. We believe the public prefer an public enquiry of
such matters.

We also restate our suggestion for a separate police review division at the CCC.

Links:

  • Recent Statements by Terry O’Gorman: Google

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=queensland+council+for+civil+liberties&tbm=nws

  • QPS Civil Claims Settlements concerns:

http://www.robertsonogorman.com.au/blog/2015/august/13/sergeant-flori-transparency-concerns/