Public sector corruption takes centre stage in Qld

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference has addressed issues raised by the conviction of Gordon Nuttall and a report into police corruption.

By Jo Cooper

Queensland is hosting a leading anti-corruption conference this week, while reeling from the news of serious misconduct within the state’s police service and the conviction of a former state minister.

A report from the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) on Operation Capri – an investigation into police misconduct – was released two weeks ago, revealing multiple incidents of concern, with 25 officers implicated in misconduct.

The report follows the sentencing of former Beattie minister Gordon Nuttall, who was found guilty of corruptly receiving almost $360,000 from two prominent Queensland businessmen over three years.

Evidence from the CMC report into Queensland Police Service suggested officers had improperly accessed confidential police information; accepted gifts and payments from an informant; enabled a prisoner to circumvent the official prison telephone system; and offered rewards for confessions relating to offences.

CMC Chair Robert Needham stated that misconduct in the Queensland Police Service would continue unless all police officers actively embraced high ethical standards.

“Misconduct such as that exposed by Operation Capri risks irreparable harm to the hard-won respect the QPS now enjoys,” he said in a media statement.

“Without public confidence, the service cannot do its job.”

Australia’s leading anti-corruption conference is being held in Brisbane over four days, concluding on July 31.
The second Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference is hosted by the CMC – together with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (NSW), and the Corruption and Crime Commission (WA).

Themed ‘Taking responsibility, fighting complacency’, the event has featured a range of expert speakers including Needham, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and journalist and author Chris Masters whose investigative work led to the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption in Queensland – the report of which was released 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts said the behaviour of the 25 current and former officers raised in the CMC’s report tarnished the reputation of decent and honest police officers.

“This is a very serious matter and the Government and the Queensland Police Service will consider the report in detail,” Roberts said in a statement.

He said one officer who is currently suspended and two former officers are facing criminal charges arising from matters peripheral to issues identified in the report.  

Of the 25 officers implicated in the CMC report 11 have left the police service having been dismissed, resigned or medically retired; two  currently facing disciplinary proceedings are on sick leave; and a further 11 were provided with managerial guidance for departures from service policies and procedures, Roberts said.

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