CMC Chairperson, Martin Moynihan AO QC:
In February 2009 the Crime and Misconduct Commission received information about allegations of police misconduct on the Gold Coast and began to investigate.
It soon emerged that there were long-term problems in an environment where there was drug and alcohol abuse by some police officers and a reluctance to report suspected police misconduct.
We found some officers were using police cars as private taxis when they were too intoxicated to drive. There was also a preoccupation with police receiving gifts and discounts due to their employment as an officer.
Other officers were improperly disclosing confidential police information to assist associates who engaged in criminal activity.
Senior officers from the Queensland Police Service and the CMC met to discuss if some of these matters could be dealt with immediately rather than wait until Operation Tesco was finalised.
In August last year, the QPS released a suite of strategies to address the issues identified by the investigation and this was carried out with the CMC’s agreement.
Today the Crime and Misconduct Commission has delivered to State Parliament its report on Operation Tesco and progress to date.
As I have just mentioned, the CMC’s investigation did not uncover widespread corruption.
However, it put a spotlight on improper police behaviour. This behaviour had remained unchecked by supervisors for a considerable time.
It also drew to our attention the quality of supervision and the ability of local managers to recognise and deal with potential misconduct.
Without intervention, this situation could have further eroded policing standards and damaged public confidence in the police service.
The new QPS strategies are aimed at improving policing not only on the Gold Coast but across Queensland.
I commend the QPS for taking swift remedial action.
Among the significant changes is a long overdue policy to manage the inherent risks in some inappropriate associations between police officers and individuals.
This may have the most influence in preventing future police misconduct of the type exposed during Operation Tesco.
The QPS has also taken a stance on the issue of police receiving discounts or free items.
This has long been a subject of community unease and concern.
Additionally, a suite of measures to improve supervision of police officers on the Gold Coast District is being introduced.
These processes are ongoing. More work still needs to be done.
Policing reforms must continue in the wake of the CMC’s Operation Tesco.
The QPS needs to focus on its recruitment strategies.
The potential for illicit drug and alcohol abuse among police remains an area of concern for the CMC.
There can be no tolerance of this behaviour.
The CMC remains alert to this problem and will make drug-related police misconduct investigations a priority.
But the onus is also on the police service. It must consider proactive and reactive strategies to reduce the risks of drug and alcohol abuse by its officers,
Finally, Operation Tesco shows how our two organisations can work together.
I anticipate that this cooperative approach will be the blueprint for future investigations of this type.
I look forward to continuing to work together with the QPS and the two police unions.
With me today is Sharon Loder – the CMC’s Acting Director of Misconduct Investigations.
Ms Loder will be available to answer your questions relating to details about the investigation. I am also happy to take questions.