Bashing decision ‘a total cop-out’
THE failure to discipline a Gold Coast police officer who resigned after the notorious Surfers Paradise police station bashing has been attacked as a “cop-out” by a former internal investigator.
Terry Goldsworthy, an exEthical Standards Command investigator and detective inspector, was speaking after the Crime and Corruption Commission largely backed the police service’s handling of the bashing case.
Only one of the four officers involved in the assault on handcuffed young chef Noa Begic in the Surfers Paradise police station basement in January 2012 was sanctioned. He was sacked but his dismissal was wholly suspended.
Another officer resigned before disciplinary action could be launched. In a statement on the scandal on Tuesday, the CCC said that by resigning, the officer “removed himself from the disciplinary process”.
But Dr Goldsworthy, now a Bond University criminologist, said the Queensland Police Service had “post-separation” powers to discipline officers after they have left the service.
The powers were used to retrospectively sack a Gold Coast officer charged with drug possession during the 2009 Operation Tesco probe into police misconduct on the Glitter Strip.
“To say you can’t discipline an officer because he or she has resigned is a complete copout – the provisions and the precedent are there,’’ Dr Goldsworthy said.
He said retrospective sanctions would remain on a former officer’s employment record and could prevent them from gaining work in another government department.
The CCC backed the QPS decision not to charge the officers but said it had concerns with the police discipline system, particularly the “prevalence” of suspended sanctions.
Incoming CCC chairman Alan MacSporran QC will be asked to look at the issue when he starts next week.