18 March 2011

Police complaints system 'broken'

The system of handling complaints about police in Queensland has broken down and enjoys little, if any, public credibility, the Council for Civil Liberties says.

In a letter to Premier Anna Bligh, council vice-president Terry O'Gorman says Queensland has reverted to a system whereby, in all but the most serious cases, police are investigating police.

Mr O'Gorman said "the almost inevitable outcome of such complaints seems to demonstrate an almost reflexive approach by the investigating police to come to a conclusion clearing the conduct which is the subject of complaint".

He called for "a thorough root and branch reform of the police complaints process" covering the police, the Criminal Justice Commission (CMC) and the parliamentary committee supervising the CMC.

He cited the matter of a citizen's having success in a private criminal prosecution against a police officer after both the Queensland Police Service and the CMC declined to prosecute despite video footage of the use of excessive force.

Mr O'Gorman said that in another case a complaint that police had allegedly endangered a 15-year-old by forcibly deflating his bicycle tyres because he was not wearing a helmet was referred back to the same police station for investigation.

"It is absurd that the complaint against the police concerned would be investigated by the senior sergeant of the very station at which they were based," he said in the letter.

Mr O'Gorman said the failure to level disciplinary charges over police investigations into the 2004 death on Palm Island of Cameron Doomadgee while in police custody is reason enough for a thorough overhaul of the police complaints system.

"Now that the Palm lsland scenario has ended so disgracefully that none of the police are to face discipline charges, it is our submission that either a royal commission into the entire Queensland complaints system should be undertaken or an eminent lawyer and an eminent retired police officer from interstateshould be brought to Queensland to review the complaints process spanning the (police), the CMC and the parliamentary committee," Mr O'Gorman said.

He said royal commissioner Tony Fitzgerald, in his 1989 report into widespread police and political corruption in Queensland, had warned that mechanisms to deal with police excesses "start going backwards at least 10 years after reforms are put in place".

"Having regard to the fact that in excess of 20 years has now gone by since the Fitzgerald Report and the subsequent establishment of the CJC (now the CMC), we contend that the passage of time alone, let alone other matters, justifies a fundamental root and branch review and subsequent reform of the police complaints process in Queensland," the letter to Ms Bligh said.

17 Mar 2011

Another failure of the system, aimed at maiming the public.

Whether it be through Masonic influences or other mechanisms, the public are put at risk via corrupt Police.

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