Senior Qld cop demands force probe


Tracey Ferrier


A senior officer has called for a sweeping inquiry into the Queensland Police Service, saying gross management failures have left criminals laughing and police too scared to do their jobs.

Senior Sergeant Phil Notaro has apologised to Queenslanders, saying the police service is failing them but managers, not officers on the beat, are to blame.

He says morale in the service is lower now than during the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and it’s time the government opened a broad-ranging inquiry to stop the rot coming from the top down.

‘I think we need an inquiry into mismanagement by the QPS hierarchy. The leaders of the organisation have to be held accountable, because we are failing the people of Queensland,’ Snr Sgt Notaro writes in the Queensland Police Union journal.

He said a restructure of the service had been a dismal failure and had not achieved any of its objectives.

‘What were once police districts with a district officer have now become merely patrol groups that are totally leaderless. The bosses have lost contact with the frontline,’ he wrote.

He says the restructure’s only success was to save the government money, after more than 100 experienced officers took redundancy packages.

Snr Sgt Notaro also savaged Queensland’s pursuit policy, saying it’s given criminals ‘a green light to do what they please when they please without fear of retribution’.

Asked about the stinging criticism, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the restructure referred to by Snr Sgt Notaro happened under the former state government.

‘I think if he does have those concerns, he should refer them to the CCC [Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland],’ the premier told the Nine Network.

‘I’ve been right across this state speaking to police officers and honestly, they have had a lot of opportunity to speak to me about that if that was their concern.’

Snr Sgt Notaro comments echo those of the Queensland Police Union, which has railed against the no-pursuits policy, claiming it has made Queensland roads more dangerous.

‘The current no-pursuits policy in Queensland has been a complete disaster. Police are no longer allowed to pursue offenders which means criminals have the green light to run from police,’ acting union president Shayne Maxwell said in January.

Snr Sgt Notaro also attacked the police service’s discipline system, saying it can take up to four years to resolve cases against officers.

Police don’t have enough vehicles, and a crackdown on access to information, led by police commissioner Ian Stewart, was seeing police charged with offences such as computer hacking, he said.

‘We are now told we should not be curious. Every check we do may be scrutinised,’ he said.

Snr Sgt Notaro said police were frustrated and too scared to do their job.

‘All I can say to the people of Queensland is “sorry”. We at the coalface are doing all we can. We at the union are doing all we can. But someone needs to be held accountable,’ he wrote.

‘I don’t see there is any choice [but to hold another inquiry]. The QPS has been mismanaged and it’s falling down around us.’

AAP has sought comment from police minister Mark Ryan and the QPS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Vast Ballina and Falls Festival