A probe into the culture of policing on the Gold Coast has found issues with workplace complaints and a lack of leadership but did not identify a widespread negative culture.
The final report in Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) Cultural Review, which began in 2015 following allegations of violent arrests, bullying, and inappropriate behaviour by officers at Gold Coast police stations, was released today by Commissioner Ian Stewart.
It identified a number of problems including a reluctance of officers to make a workplace complaint.
The report blamed a perceived lack of high-level district leadership on instability within the service.
“However, there are issues raised in the report that are already being addressed to ensure we improve workplace culture to support our members and enable them to do the job to the best of their abilities,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“I stress we have excellent staff in the Gold Coast district working hard to stop crime and make the community safer.”
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the report revealed nothing new for him.
“I have for years spoken about the lack of opportunity the Queensland Police Service gives to non-commissioned officers to appropriately supervise and manage junior ranks,” he said.
“Hopefully now, with the release of this report, the police hierarchy can put in place strategies that allow officers to effectively manage and supervise police under their control without the constant threat of being second guessed and disciplined.”
Use of force increases on Gold Coast
The cultural review was one of three reports released publicly by Commissioner Stewart on Tuesday afternoon.
The other two focused on issues relating to excessive use of force and police shootings.
The final report into Taskforce Bletchley found a 15 per cent reduction in excessive force complaints across the state in the 12 months to June 2015.
But the Gold Coast district bucked the trend with a 13 per cent increase in complaints of excessive force over this period, rising from 52 to 59.
Another report, the Violent Confrontations Review, considered whether training and procedures needed to be reworked so any violent confrontations between police and the public could be de-escalated quickly.
It came after a series of fatal police shootings from 2013 to 2014 currently being investigated by the coroner.
Commissioner Stewart said one of the findings highlighted the importance of not shooting at cars unless there was little other option.
He said the public could have confidence in its officers.
“Our members deal with difficult and challenging situations around the state on a daily basis,” he said.
“The vast majority are handled appropriately but it is important to continue to review all uses of force to ensure any issues are addressed.”