MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA (INC.) 22 JUNE 2010
QLD police action against officers ‘long overdue’ says ALSWA
The Queensland Police Commissioner has consistently failed to publicly acknowledge the failings of his own organisation, according to the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA).
ALSWA believes that it is long overdue for the Commissioner to take appropriate action against his own investigating officers, who the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) found failed to adhere to high ethical standards when investigating the 2004 Palm Island death of an Indigenous man in police custody.
On Thursday last week, the CMC directed the QLD Police Commissioner to report back within 14 days about what action he intends to take against six officers. The CMC also recommended the Police Service consider disciplinary proceedings against internal investigation team members.
ALSWA’s CEO stressed that when a member of the public is detained by any police force and subsequently dies, every measure should be explored to ensure a thorough and ethical investigation takes place. “In this particular instance we had investigating officers being collected from the airport by Snr Sgt Hurley before dining at Hurley’s home – the very police officer they should have been investigating”.
“This issue transcends State boundaries and is one that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians should all be sickened by. It is also particularly worrying that it has taken an independent enquiry to uncover what the Queensland Police have tried to conceal, an embedded culture of cover up. The Commissioner has previously stated satisfaction with internal investigations, investigations which this independent enquiry has now shown to have fallen drastically short of what the public should expect” said Mr. Eggington.
ALSWA supports the QLD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in their efforts to advocate for a profound change in the way justice is administered within QLD.
“The eyes of Australia are now on Queensland, and as the head of their Police Service, the Commissioner must now demonstrate that Queensland is no longer a police state where Indigenous people receive a second rate service” said Mr. Eggington.