I’LL WAGE WAR ON ICE
Ice scourge high priority of Stewart’s new tenure
QUEENSLAND Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says the drug ice, national security, domestic violence and the safety of Queenslanders will be among his priorities after receiving a two-year job extension from the State Government.
As revealed in The CourierMail on Saturday, Mr Stewart was yesterday reappointed to the top job and said he was pleased to remain overseeing the state’s 15,000-strong force, which he described as undergoing huge changes not seen since the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
“There are a number of priorities and I have discussed this at length with the Minister over the past months,’’ he said yesterday.
“National security is a critical issue for policing in this state going forward.
“But just as much as that we’ve got to look at the issues around ice and what it’s doing to our community and that’s again not just a state issue, it’s a national one.
“Domestic violence is very, very, high on our list.
“But we can never take our eye off the main prize, which is to keep our community safe and secure.
“That means going after criminals wherever they are in our society, whether it’s online criminals or whether it’s people who break into houses.”
Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller announced Mr Stewart’s appointment yesterday, defending her decision against criticism from the police union which argued the job should have been advertised.
Mr Stewart said: “We are 15,000 strong and I’m not there for the popularity contest, I’m there to make the best decisions possible for both the members and for the community.
“The last three years have been an amazing time for our organisation, some of the biggest changes that we have undertaken since (the) Fitzgerald (Inquiry).’’
Mr Stewart would not be drawn on whether he supported winding back the LNP’s anti-bikie laws, as the Government has already signalled.
He said he would wait for recommendations from the organised crime inquiry.
“While there continue to be criminals in our society, we will pursue them,” he said.
Mr Stewart said complaints against police had dropped year on year in the past three years and 40 per cent of complaints were made internally, which was a “very, very healthy sign for the QPS and for the confidence the community has in our organisation”.
The reported crime rate was also down this year, he said.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the commissioner’s job should have been allotted according to a merit-based selection process similar to that of government department directorsgeneral.
Mr Leavers said he had “nothing personally against Ian Stewart” but criticised the “behind-closed-doors” reappointment process.
He said Ms Miller was the “weak link” in the State Government, adding that he had been disappointed to receive a call from here staffer stating the Minister wished to talk to the union about the decision.
“We were told that for all directors-general, the jobs would be readvertised and
there would be openness and transparency and a meritbased selection process take place,” he said.
“This has not occurred with the Commissioner of Police and I think the Minister has shown poor judgment.”
Ms Miller said she made the decision after discussing the job with incoming Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran and the acting chair- woman, Ann Gummow.
She said Mr Stewart had worked tirelessly in his role and the Government would advertise for a new commissioner in future.
Mr Stewart said that he would consider his options if the job was advertised.