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You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC investigation results in drug conviction against former QPS officer — 13.02.2012
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC investigation results in drug conviction against former QPS officer — 13.02.2012
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC investigation results in drug conviction against former QPS officer — 13.02.2012

CMC investigation results in drug conviction against former QPS officer — 13.02.2012

A Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) investigation targeting illicit drug-related activity by a group of police officers in the Logan District has today resulted in a former sergeant and civilian associate each being sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for a period of 18 months.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Nighthawk, commenced in September 2010 and ran for seven months.

The CMC initially acted on allegations that a police sergeant was supplying ecstasy and amphetamines to other police officers and members of the public for use at social gatherings.

The investigation revealed alleged drug-related police misconduct by a group of six female officers and one female Queensland Police Service (QPS) civilian employee — all based in the Logan District.

CMC Acting Chairperson Warren Strange said Operation Nighthawk underlined ‘zero tolerance’ of drug-related police misconduct.

However, Mr Strange stressed that the investigation did not establish wider drug-related police misconduct beyond this group. The evidence also only pointed to illegal drug activity for recreational purposes.

Operation Nighthawk’s main target, Natasha Nichole Fewson, 37, resigned as a police sergeant in November 2010 after the CMC executed search warrants and located amphetamines at her residence.

Appearing before Brisbane’s District Court today, Ms Fewson pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying dangerous drugs — 1 x cannabis, 1 x MDMA (ecstasy) and  3 x methylamphetamine (speed) — and one count of possessing dangerous drugs (methylamphetamine).  She was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for a period of 18 months.

Ms Fewson appeared alongside a male associate, Mark Barry, 47, also her brother, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of supplying dangerous drugs — 1 x cannabis and  7 x methylamphetamine — and one count of possessing dangerous drugs (cannabis). He was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for a period of 18 months.

Operation Nighthawk also identified sufficient evidence to support recommendations by the CMC for disciplinary action against the investigation’s six remaining subjects. In two cases disciplinary action was taken by the QPS. However, the other four resigned before disciplinary proceedings could be considered.

The CMC’s investigation recommended disciplinary action against:

  • A Detective Sergeant for alleged supply, use and possession of dangerous drugs, and for failing to report police misconduct. The officer resigned after the CMC put the allegations to her.
  • A civilian employee (Communications Operator) for alleged supply, use and possession of dangerous drugs, and for failing to report police misconduct. The employee resigned after the CMC put the allegations to her.
  • A Detective Senior Constable for alleged use and possession of dangerous drugs, failing to report police misconduct and dishonesty during a discipline interview. The officer resigned after she was suspended by the QPS.
  • A Constable for alleged use and possession of dangerous drugs, and failing to report police misconduct. The officer resigned after the CMC put the allegations to her.
  • A Senior Constable and Constable for failing to report police misconduct. QPS disciplinary proceedings substantiated police misconduct against both officers. Each received a one pay-point demotion for a period of 12 months.

Drug-related police misconduct investigations remain a CMC priority in the wake of Operation Tesco hearings (September 2010) and public report (June 2011) arising from a separate investigation into allegations that some Gold Coast police officers were involved in the use and supply of dangerous drugs, supply of confidential police information to assist criminal associates and receipt of benefits in connection with those activities.

Mr Strange commended the QPS for acting swiftly to develop new strategies aimed at addressing risk areas of policing. To date, among other initiatives, the QPS has introduced a new gifts and benefits policy, which took effect 1 January 2012.

‘It’s important to qualify that neither investigation [Tesco or Nighthawk] found widespread evidence of corruption or misconduct in the police service,’ Mr Strange said. ‘Instead, the evidence points to misconduct by a small number of police.

‘The QPS has taken some important steps in addressing identified issues, including improving the quality of overall supervision of its officers and ongoing development of related policies.

‘Importantly, work is in the pipeline to progress the police service’s drug and alcohol policy and, on this front it’s encouraging that the Police Commissioner has publicly stated that random drug testing is a necessary consideration and probably inevitable.’

In a related move, last year, the Queensland Government-appointed independent panel that reviewed the state’s police complaints, discipline and misconduct system, recommended that ‘in consultation with the CMC and relevant unions’, a review and business case be developed for targeted drug and alcohol testing consistent with developments of leading practice in other jurisdictions and occupations. The government has set a 2013 implementation date for this recommendation.

Mr Strange said the CMC welcomed the opportunity to work with the QPS and relevant stakeholders on improving the QPS’s drug and alcohol policy strategy, in the interests of both its officers and the wider community.

Last updated: 24 September 2012
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