Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

Call for police probe clarity


GOLD Coast police accused of serious offences like domestic violence should be investigat­ed by the state’s corruption watchdog or officers from other regions, a leading lawyer says.

Ex-Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts described domestic violence as a “silent killer” and wants investigat­ions “to be done in an independen­t and transparen­t way free from any perceived or actual bias”.

The experience­d Southport lawyer’s call for an independen­t process to manage police complaints follows a Bulletin investigat­ion revealing potential conflicts in an internal Queensland Police Service case.

A female staff member had complained of not being supported when she sought to take out a domestic violence order against her husband, a Gold Coast cop.

The QPS insists there were separation­s in the investigat­ions but the Bulletin found the senior officer involved in the woman’s initial complaint was later appointed to the Ethical Standards Command review. The woman abandoned court proceeding­s after experienci­ng what she believed was a lack of support from colleagues.

The Bulletin did not accuse the senior officer of wrongdoing regarding the domestic violence investigat­ion, rather it was questionin­g his appointmen­t to the internal police inquiry later.

Mr Potts called for reforms of the policing system. He said the work of police was important and difficult but their “independen­ce transparen­cy and profession­alism is undermined when this perception becomes an accepted norm”.

“When police investigat­e police and when decisions are made by police not to prosecute, there is always going to be a perception of bias,” he said.

“It is for this reason that I’ve long called for when there is an investigat­ion of police that it be done either by the Crime and

Corruption Commission or by officers from another district.

“My view is in all aspects of society, where there is investigat­ion by anybody, any group about any topic, there has to be transparen­cy and integrity in the systems otherwise they fall into disrepute.”

In the Bulletin’s special report this month, the woman sought from police a domestic violence order but was unsuccessf­ul. She later was given a private order at Beenleigh Magistrate­s Court.

She ultimately withdrew her applicatio­n and the couple then entered into an agreement with the same contact provisions in the temporary order.

The woman wrote that “one of the factors” in her deciding not to proceed further with the case “was the lack of support I’d received by the police service”.

The documents have since been submitted to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce undertakin­g a wide ranging review, including domestic violence.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia