“Look what you made me do”
2 November 2017
Dear Mr Commissioner,
I wanted to acknowledge the sense of purpose I felt many times over the 28 years that I served within the Qld Police Service. I have always prided myself as an officer that joined the Police Service (or back then Police Force), for the right reasons. I carried a desire to be part of what I saw as a collective group of people, that for the most part, were focused on bettering the well being and safety of the community.
Over the span of my long career, I have seen four Police Commissioners lead the organisation. It has been incredibly disappointing to see the gradual slippage from the early 1990’s to today. It has become increasingly apparent that the morale in the service is declining to such an extent that it is impacting the way crime is managed, reported, and investigated.
Although there are very hard working officers both Men and Women, who believe in what they are doing, there are those in some quarters whose behaviour and methodologies impact significantly on the way business is conducted, particularly behind closed doors.
In fact throughout my employment I have, along with the public, repeatedly heard words such as transparency, accountability, openness and honesty. This includes leaders constantly citing having ‘great faith in the checks and balances that are in place’, however I am of the personal and educated view that these are important words, that carry significant weight and they are becoming nothing more than rehearsed rhetoric.
In the later years of my lengthy commitment to the Service, it could only be described as swimming against a tide in order to honour my duty to serve and protect the community. At no point when I signed up, did I think I would have to protect the community from police themselves. An organisation that has the resources to crush anyone that dare challenge their behaviour.
When I was operating within my own sphere, I could maintain appropriate standards of conduct, not only for myself but for those under my immediate command and within community expectations.
I found reporting misconduct not only impossible, but the retaliations when doing so unbearable. As you well know, I was forced to commence proceedings against Senior and Executive Officers for committing reprisals against me. There are provisions in place that mean by law I should be protected from any such retaliation once I have made a public interest disclosure, particularly one accepted by the Ethical Standards Command the then Crime and Misconduct Commission.
On one occasion I was even threatened with a firearm, I was again afforded no protection, the irony that followed of course was that same officer became embroiled in allegations of shooting at a vehicle, no doubt costing the public purse thousands of dollars. Had my early complaint not fallen on the usual deaf ears, the subsequent event which could have easily lead to a death, may have been avoided.
I have witnessed more time, effort and money being directed toward covering up various indiscretions, rather than it being utilised to correct poor culture and break the cycle of the irresponsible use of power and resources. Such powers and resources that the community entrust to your keeping. Naturally, we are all human and make mistakes along the way, but it takes a solid leader with good leadership skills to instil a corrective and positive ethos into the men and women who serve our community when those mistakes are made, either deliberate or otherwise.
Strong Leadership is desired by all within the police organisation and always produces great results despite any initial resistance if the intention of those in leadership is actually in alignment with the values they promote.
Never in my 28 years as an officer have I seen such poor morale amongst the frontline officers and such disappointment from members of the community about the decisions being made that are clearly not in the public interest or expectations. This includes the recent situation with the misuse of QPRIME of which I was also a victim. I brought this forward in 2012. There has been and continues to be no consistency with corrective actions taken by the service whether that be charging officers criminally or in the disciplinary arena. Right to Information processes have now been modified resulting in dozens of rejected applications for people seeking copies of their own files. This notion goes against openness, honesty and transparency as expected by the community from the QPS and the government of the day.
There have been allegations reported in the media of mishandling of domestic violence matters, manipulation of crime statistics, nepotism, cronyism, tampering with evidence by police, (then producing that evidence to a criminal court) and complaints of brutality against members of the public. These are just a few circumstances where victims have been forced into the civil arena to seek justice because the self regulation of police is simply not effective. We have even heard more recently allegations of perjury by a senior officer sent to the Gold Coast to clean up the poor culture.
After careful consideration, it is my position that I have lost faith in any change of culture occurring in the near future and have no confidence in the current management of the Queensland Police Service. It has been recently reported that we have returned to the Pre Fitzgerald era, which is ironic given my first weeks in the police academy included officers from the previous intake to me being sent to the basement of Police Headquarters to shred thousands of documents around the time of the coercive hearings. I was so young at the time, I was naive and unaware of the significance of what they were doing.
It appears I have done the full circle and there is little point to continue in a cycle that is not only unhealthy for me but also my family. I have always been passionate about serving the community and I look forward to being able to do so without having my hands tied.
I am proud of the person I have become and standby my convictions. The torment by the Queensland Police Service for almost six years has left me with no other choice but to pursue other opportunities to serve the community knowing I am doing the right thing by disconnecting from something that is not at all in alignment with my own personal values as a human being.
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the Queensland Police Service effective immediately.