State Crime Command & Operation Quebec Camouflage
Labor Police Minister Mark Ryan and Queensland Police Service have been making a big deal out of Operation Quebec Camouflage. This was their big chance to show everyone how much great work Queensland Police were doing seizing illegal firearms and stopping the bad guys.
The Labor Government put out this press release (click here) entitled: Police seize illegal firearms as part of statewide blitz
The Brisbane Times reported breathlessly (click here): Anti-tank rifle among almost 900 weapons seized in Queensland in less than a month. The article carries a picture of the large anti-tank rifle and reported how the Minister made it sound like this was a huge operation against illegal firearms:
“The number that we’re concerned about is the number of illegal weapons in the state, and that’s why we have operations like this targeted operation but that’s why also the Queensland Police Service continues with its proactive steps to ensure that anyone holding a firearm illegally disposes of that firearm appropriately.”
Totally misleading: 128 lawfully-owned firearms were surrendered by one collector
128 firearms out of the almost 900 supposedly “illegal” were firearms surrendered by a collector in Queensland’s Central West with no suggestion of illegal ownership or of any criminal charges. There are lots of reasons a licensed collector might want to hand in firearms. Infirmity is a common reason.
LAFO instigated a Right To Information application for the details of these firearms following the Government press release. The documents released, partially reproduced below, include a copy of one of the Brisbane Times photos of the anti-tank rifle and these quotes:
QPRIME log: “QP1800335928 Surrendered for safekeeping […] ”
Forensic supplementary: “Weapons not taken in relation to offences […]”
Detective Chief Super by email: “Relinquishing of 128 firearms by one family […]”
Assistant Commissioner replies: “Outstanding work”
The implication of all this seems to be that QPS will suggest to the media that this is some huge illegal firearms haul when in truth the old, surrendered firearms had nothing to do with criminal activity.