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Calls for inquiry into QPS mismanagement

A recent story published by major news outlets highlights the frustration of Police officers in the QPS.

The QPS is an organisation stuck in a web of red tape, consisting of but not limited to, ridiculous amounts of statistical gathering, unprecedented amounts of internal scrutiny and surveillance of officers and all from a desire to portray itself as a paragon of modern day policing. What this Senior Sergeant talks about is 100% correct. Queensland Police Officers have never had such low morale and the reasons come right from the top, beginning with Governments and filtered down with very little resistance from upper management, to middle management, right down to the officers on the front line. There’s so much I could talk about that I don’t know where to start. In my view the QPS has shifted way too far toward ass covering and self promotion that it is placing enormous pressures on those on the front lines who are trying to get things done. Sometimes you are more worried about the potential ass kicking you would get from making an honest mistake, that you second guess yourself so much that you either end up not doing what you should be doing and as an aside to that, in certain situations your indecisiveness places you in potential personal danger of injury or even death. The police used to be the ‘pointy end’ of the stick, now the police are a pointy stick with a rubber tip at the end of it. The QPS used to also have Officers in Charge of Stations who had balls, and stood up for their staff. With the stipulation that I am generalising here, these days they are just puppets of higher levels of management.

Let’s be honest, the QPS has a computer system that is antiquated and not user friendly. It is more a system for statistical gathering than a system that allows officers to efficiently do their jobs. This goes hand in hand with the ridiculous amounts of paperwork associated with even the simplest and most straight forward matters. To a large degree this is a result of statistical gathering, organisational ass covering, and increasing judicial requirements. Soon police will need law degrees just to be able to put a document together without getting criticism. Every area of policing is also getting broader by the minute. There’s information overload coming from every direction, but if you dare not know every guideline and procedure, then get ready to get your ass rimmed. I would humbly suggest that not many police have photographic memories. The courts aren’t helpful either. You may say one wrong word to an offender in a stressful situation from a predetermined spiel and not only does your case get thrown out but you then roasted by the boss. When you are involved in a so called use of force incident, guess what the organisation is first more interested in? It’s definitely not whether you are o.k. They want to know about everything that happened first, so they can, not only cover their ass, but also determine what wrongs you’ve committed. Let’s be honest, that is their primary focus, irrespective of their denials of this. Your well being is only a secondary consideration.

There are now increasing numbers of body cameras and cameras in cars in use. Sure they are definitely effective evidence gathering tools, but the organisation also loves them as they’re great for scrutinising of the actions of officers, no matter how small or trivial those actions may be. They are also very effective tools for tracking every single thing officers do throughout their shift, from tracking every location you are at, to what you say in the cars. Sure there needs to be a certain level of ‘surveillance’ for what officers do, but who wants to work under surveillance every second of their shift? We all need private time talking about personal things, whether they be serious or in jest, or to stop somewhere for a few minutes to get a mental break. It’s enough to make you feel like a criminal yourself and in some instances knowing that your every move and every word is being scrutinized to the max can make you hesitate to do your job in certain situations. In policing, hesitation can result in catastrophe not just for the officer but for others. I don’t believe constant surveillance is widespread at the moment, however it’s definitely heading  in that direction.

One of the major issues creating low morale, is the ever increasing focus on individual performance. Policing used to be about getting things done as a team. Sure personal achievements were recognised, but the main desired outcome was that the job got done and nobody got hurt.

These days there is huge pressure to perform to predetermined expectations. There are unwritten requirements on how many ‘pinches’ and tickets are expected per month. There are frequent comparisons with the personal performance of others and if you dare suggest that you are more like a team player or that you are more community oriented, you quickly get shut down and told to be more selfish as your pinches and tickets will be what your performance as a police officer will be measured against. Your professionalism, character, helpfulness with your colleagues and the way you interact with members of the community are just secondary considerations. No wonder the public sometimes complain about unfair police actions as there are too many of them getting shitty tickets, such as parking in the wrong parking spot at a train station, because those otherwise great officers, have to fulfill unwritten quotas. Management also have warped expectations. When it comes to drink driving for example, a lot of which has to do with funding and therefore also an issue related to governments, management would rather see officers do 1000 breath tests with no positive results than officers do 10 breath tests with 5 positive results. Yes, they like the positive stats and will use it to show how effective their officers are, but when it comes down to it, the number of breath tests as opposed to the number of positive results, is more important.

I don’t even want to start with pursuits. It’s pretty obvious to most people that the criminals are just laughing at police. It’s of course a tragedy if someone gets injured or killed as a result of a pursuit, but I would dare say that there is far greater societal damage done by not allowing pursuits generally. Look I could go on and on about many other things, but I think we all get the idea. Too much paperwork, unrealistic expectations, too much red tape, too much statistical gathering, excessive scrutiny, not enough support and warped priorities to name a few. As for the comments by the Premier that no one has been telling her about these things, well I’ll tell you why. They have themselves and their families to feed and don’t want the dramas that speaking up would result in.

It’s funny too, how many of those in management dictating to modern day officers how perfect they need to be are the same ones, whom in “their time’ were the ones driving home pissed, dealing police justice to certain offenders and generally participating in dodgy practices, as discovered through the Fitzgerald Enquiry. Very ironic I think.

NOTE OF CAUTION:   IF YOU ARE A SERVING MEMBER OF THE QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE PLEASE BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU COMMENT ON. FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOESN’T SEEM TO APPLY TO SOME ORGANISATIONS. THE QPS MAY OR MAY NOT BE ONE OF THOSE.

 

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35 comments

  1. Interesting points.

    • Hi Angela. Thanks for the comment. Generally Officers are hesitant to speak out about these issues. They don’t like what is happening, but generally it’s far better to put up with what is going on than to speak up about it. It’s unfortunate, because if these issues are addressed there would be great benefits to policing and to society in general. Too many people in positions of power with their heads in the sand unfortunately.

  2. What do you expect when the commissioners view on officers raising concerns is ‘like it or leave?’

  3. You are dead right, until I retired in 2015, I had been an officer for 40 years in two states and two countries (3 actual forces). Whilst in every case the officers were professional and dedicated, QPS was by far the most ass coveri ng force I have ever seen. It comes from government, hiearachy and media and it all stems from Fitzgerald. I agree we should be accountable and I have no problem dealing with the bad apples, but they are paranoid about another Fitzgerald Enquiry. If you dont believe me listen to the media when an officer is charged or convicted it always comes up. The Commissioners recent crap about being passionate about officers welfare. Tell that to the widow of the Sergeant who committed suicide over a drink driving matter. If that wasnt a cry for help what was. Instead of looking at the full circs, the service just charges. Yes he should be charged, but if this was out of character where was the support. As a resukt of my experiences I lost total faith in the hiearchy and the judiciary. How can you explain to a victims family that the offenders rights far outweigh their loved ones in a court. I hate to say this but I will never trust the legal systenm in this State to give a person justice in a criminal matter UNLESS YOU ARE THE OFFENDER.

    • Great comment John. Spot on.

    • Mate, this thing that the QPS has at the moment where they name and shame officers before they are even found guilty or simply because they may be involved in a Domestic Violence complaint, is reprehensible. Because even if the charges are dropped or they are found not guilty or deemed not responsible in a DV matter, their names will forever be out there in the public domain, tarnishing their name and reputation. Definitely ass covering. Maybe for the sake of accountability of open disclosure we should release the details of all the upper managers and all the complaints that they each received throughout their careers, including the outcomes of all the investigations against them? That would only be fair.

  4. Well said ! Needs to be more of it! I have witnessed good hard working officers with years and years of service virtually forced on sick leave or retirement due to upper management and the new way of management. Utterly disgraceful the way they have been treated. Good on you for speaking out !

    • This is one of the biggest issues that have been going on and no one seems interested in fixing it. Not the organisation and not the government. It’s as though the problem doesn’t exist. It’s as though those good officers who dedicated so many years of their lives to serve their community were no more than a resource to be utilised and then disposed off when no longer of use. It’s shameful to the utmost. It makes me so angry that they are treated that way and I for one am committed to continuing to bring this to the attention of the general public.

  5. 100% correct. There certainly is no support. I know someone that was dragged through the courts on a complaint made by his ex wife and ex girlfriend who colluded to get this officer kicked out of the service. He was cleared through the courts but then the service started. They have dragged this out internally for 9 years. So much so his PTSD has flared, has nothing left and the service now are missing his files. Then as he was just starting to move on as best he could Ian Stewart signs another 3 yr contract. And he thinks his officers are happy…. B.S. TO THAT

    • Oh after all these years nothing has changed. I have been retired for 11 years now. I am interested in these comments as most of the senior police were selected by the rules laid down by the infamous character “Fitzgerald.” He knew nothing about policing and instigated rough justice for those who were unfortunate to be doing their job and he took on complaints from idiots for senior police to waste time investigating. Your Commissioner and some that recently went before as in Assistant Commissioners were inexperienced officers who were only promoted on merit?????? one woman never a days work but delegated well. She had a degree and was doing another. She had plenty of time to do it because she never did police work.
      Now these are the ones who are now promoting your bosses. They went through the system and this is what they believe was the correct way to do it! I remember when the “Fitzgerald” rules were being implimented. I recall standing up and asking why there were so many police in Toowoomba (5) actually driving around the city while I was scratching to get one car in a division on a weekend. All that is ever done is play catchup with policing. Never enough at the time when needed but then when the additional police are sent it is too late and back to the catch up again.

    • Stewart honestly is either in denial or he is totally delusional. The vast majority of police officers I’ve spoken to, say that they are often not happy with how things are. They often feel hamstrung by excessive paperwork, excessive judgement about their personal performance and they feel frustrated that they can’t express their grievances without being criticised, or ridiculed or indirectly punished. What ever happened to “teamwork”, you know the thing that the organisation harps on and on and on endlessly? In their eyes, “teamwork’ is doing as you are told without question, or grievance. I wonder when the last time was (if ever) that the organisation applied the well established and widely preached S.E.L.F test, to it’s own actions and decisions?

  6. I’ve seen and personally experienced a massive drop in morale amongst front line police. The pressure placed on us by management and the courts is taking a terrible toll on men and women who I rub shoulders with everyday. Pressure results in fear and fear results in hesitation and hesitation results in police and others getting hurt and/ or suffering psychological injury.
    This should be the best job in the world but we are drowning under an avalanche of paperwork and statistic gathering that actually means nothing. Free us up to serve the community, engage the community, chase the bad guys without fear of retribution from the bosses and the state will have the strongest police FORCE in the world.

    • Wes, couldn’t have said it any better mate. So much bloody red tape and stats gathering, it’s ridiculous. Maybe it would also be an idea for them, whenever they bring out some new policy or procedure to consult with people in the front line, you know the ones that are actually involved in dealing with those matters and the ones best equip to make suggestions for improvements. But no, that would be too obvious and make too much sense. Upper Management know what’s best and don’t you dare suggest that they don’t. Shut your mouth, do as your told or look for another job.

  7. This really is the reality of all Police Forces within Australia and most probably across all emergency services.

  8. The exact same situation on the Gold Coast. Gold Coast are dealing with what I call positive discrimination,… a large amount of females getting promoted well above their capabilities and haven’t done a days worth of real policing in their lifetime, but managed to kiss ass to an up and coming inspector / superintendent and part of their resume building promote these inempt females. They get into a position of power and caus eutter carnage to workers and behave in a manner that anyone else would be stood down for. The hypocrisy they conduct themselves in is beyond appalling, while giving out discipline to workers for not meeeting quotas they are committing all sorts of misconduct eg….. getting signed off on mandatory training courses yet not actually attending, doing specials and leaving early 1hr early before the end of the special and claiming the full amount, smashing officers personal property in stations (smashed a officers 1st Father’s Day mug he left in the sink unwashed after night work), attending personal court matters in work time. Copying and taking credit for other officers POP initiatives and claiming it as her own. The list goes on… but they are female and untouchable because they insist that there must be more female promotion and good male officers who are getting ingnored because they are male. Gold Coast is the worst place for policing at the moment and the hierarchy are nothing but lying decitful underhanded corrupt cronies with ounce of integrity what so ever. They are hell bent on destroying lives for nothing but their own personal gain of promotion.

    • Amen to that!!

    • That’s a horrible state of affairs Jenny. I really don’t understand why the organisation thinks that the way things are being done at the moment is benefiting the service. There are so many things that are done underhandedly in so many areas. Surely the hierarchy must know about all the flaws. If they don’t know, then they are inept and if they do know and continue to do nothing, then they must not know how to fix the problems, making them unsuitable to hold the positions that they hold.

  9. Look at the stats fudging on the Gold Coast and then those poor honest Snr sgts reporting the misconduct and they get bullied and humiliated and targeted and moved and mistreated in such an a disgraceful manner and their jobs are threatened which means their family lives. And Stuart leaves the hierarchy still in control on the Gold Coast ignoring their corrupt behaviour so he can look good and get his contract renewed. He more interested in flying a rainbow flag at head quarters for some PC bullshit appeasing publicity stunt then actually dealing with his corrupt hierarchy and the treatment of his workers. He’s a compulsive liar the entire state loath the commissioner and does not have the respect from the troops. Crime is out of control on the Gold Coast yet they are doing all they can to hide this at the publics expense so they being the ass clowns hirechary can get promoted out of the Commonwealth games, the public are screaming that crime is out of control on the Gold Coast front line officers are screaming it yet Stewart stand in front of a camera and saying No it’s not!!!!! Get you fat lying ass down on the front for two weeks of night work and come see for yourself!! Stations are all running at 50% capacity officers are exhausted and then the constant demand to meet quotas gets forced upon them and if they don’t meet then Neg report on their file, or you can be a female hide in the crn behind a desk with some bullshit title so not leave the station and actually do police work and get promoted. QPS has lost all its moral front line see and know the corruption going on amongst the hierarchy and the Government are entrenched covering it up as well because it’s all about saving face and getting rewards and promotions out of the Commonwealth Games for their resumes. Why are the hierarchy who Currently under CCC investigation not splashed all over social media for the stance of “keeping with our high standards of transparency and integrity”?????? Why only those foot soldiers on the front line named and shamed???? Rules one and rules for another corruption right up top!!!! Shit floats to the top as the saying goes!

    • This naming and shaming crap really irks me. Fair enough if someone is found guilty of something serious then yes perhaps it should be disclosed. I don’t particularly agree that they should be named and shamed even then. Perhaps state which division they are from and the offence committed, but what benefit is it to name the person an give them a lifetime of embarrassment, especially for piss weak simple offences? For the sake of transparency and integrity, let’s publicly disclose the service histories of all the brass including their disciplinary and criminal histories. It’s only fair, I think.

  10. Who do you speak out too??? You get targeted if you speak up look at the crime managers on the Gold Coast and others who have reported bullying. They opening lie and provide false misleading information to external government agencies. The crime managers are all long serving officers at the rank of Snr sgts and look at the treatment Stewart and his hierarchy cronies on the Gold Coast treat them, imagine what type of intimidation they do to lower lever ranking officers. GOLD COAST NEEDS A FITZGERALD INQUIRY NOW!!! What about an community based officer being questioned for doing police work!!! Yep no joke, not only doing community policing but also doing police work and doing investigations in that officers division and completing these investigations and is under scrutiny for it!!! So basically get paid to only hand out “cops are cool” stickers to school kids and eat cup cakes at retirement homes, anything else you will be investigated for… WTF!

  11. It is way worse than most people think. I encourage any police officer past or present to have a very long read of qld.racismandrotteness.com. This show the exact lengths Stewart and his group of cronies and cowards will go to.

  12. I haven’t had the time to read the whole article or all the comments, they are all very predictable. What the author is talking about is very much the same as when I was a Constable in Queensland Police in 1968/71. He also hits the nail on the head for the time I spent in the A.C.T./AFP 1971-1993. My Superintendent was so focussed on criticising the ‘troops’ and overtime that I walked out on him and refused to return whilst he was boss of that Division. apparently not the first either. So as they do say, ‘same shit, different day’.

    • Mate as you know, a big part of the problem is that a lot of those in charge make decisions based on what will result in something of benefit to them and their ambitions, and not on the benefit to the organisation or the community. Every opportunity for self promotion is taken with very little consideration of how their decisions will affect others.

  13. I wish I could comment on this but somewhere some bastard would put me through the wringers again, so sick of the changes occurring restructure stick it up your ^^^^ mate it does not work, I have worked in the service for nearly 20 years and you cant tell me that there is not nepotism still in the QPS. As for the Bully’s in this job, they cover there arse very well and watch out for the payback if you say anything I have been a victim of this and now this person is going up the food chain what a joke QPS, I had respect once for the service but hey look after number one and your family first.

    • Hi, thanks for commenting. I know it’s not exactly easy to do so when you have the prospect of the whole of the QPS coming down on top of your head if you dare to criticise them in any way. It’s quite ironic really, because you have an organisation who’s success depends predominantly on the help of the public for reporting wrongdoings, yet when a member reports wrongdoing or unfairness or injustices, that person is jumped on as though they are the one who is doing something wrong. I agree with you that in this day and age you are better off keeping your mouth shut and looking after number one, but it’s shameful for the QPS that it’s officers have to feel like that. It’s clearly a mismanagement issue. Staff should be able to report wrongdoings or things that they believe are not right without feeling that it will come back to bite them on the ass for speaking up.

  14. Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 rtnpz

  15. My time in the QPS was mixed…I meet some awesome people whole are still my friends(I have left)…However the bullying and degregation of myself as a female (older) officer was not pleasant. Middle management did try and get me to make complaints but at the end of the day you have to work with the people on the ground and…you’d be called a “dog”.. I left and have tried to look after myself the best I can (re 8 years forensics as well)…It has nearly destroyed my life and I’m still not sure where I’ll be in the future

    • Hi “Blogs”. Thanks for your comment. There are some really serious issues within the QPS as an organisation, so I can definitely understand what you are saying. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is that results in so many stories like yours, but I definitely think that a lot of it stems from an internal culture that doesn’t promote openness and honesty in relation to how the organisation functions. There’s definite hesitation amongst the vast majority of officers when it comes to bringing up issues or in making suggestions on how things could be improved. It really starts right from the top I believe, and this filters down through the ranks and into all department sections. This was clearly evident a few months ago when an officer came out publicly about some concerns he had with the organisation, and in response, instead of trying to understand where the officer was coming from, the Commissioner came out with other top brass, as though they were part of the United Nations Security Council to announce that the world was going to war, and lambasted the officers comments, basically telling him and anyone else who may see fit to follow suit to shut up or leave. Anyone who genuinely has a grievance or even potential ideas for improvements, are at the very least uncomfortable in having their voices heard and often are even fearful of criticism, condescending feedback or even ridicule. There is undeniable hesitation from employees whenever they feel the need to speak about whatever issue there may be. The Commissioner publicly denies that low morale is an issue, but he is either in denial or he just lacks the capacity to see the truth. MORALE IS LOW, and a lot of it has to do with the inability to speak up arising out of the fear of being singled out, being made an example of, or being made to feel like you are trying to buck the system. The QPS is definitely similar to a dictatorship, whereby you do as you are told, and if you dare to think independently or question the way things are or make suggestions about what you think could be done to improve the system, then you often become an outcast, seen as a troublemaker or not a team player. There is too much of “This is the way things are done” and not enough acceptance of alternative views and ideas. Blogs, I hope everything works out for you.

  16. About 4% of people are psychopaths. Some occupations such as policing are more attractive to psychopaths and so the percentage is higher. Psychopaths are also attracted to management positions so they tend to concentrate within management. The QPS has a promotional system that fosters cronyism and this benefits pathological personalities (bullies). As a result the QPS has a hierarchy based on power rather than a hierarchy based on competence. The QPS cannot reform until it has a system of promotion that does not unfairly advantage the ruthless. Ben Dyball Senior Constable 8151 (Ret.) 18 years service.

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