Dear Queensland Audit Office and Queensland Ombudsman,
In 2016-2017 Queensland Audit Office examined and helped expose organised Queensland Police manipulation of crime statistics on the Gold Coast. The Brisbane Times reported:
Officers in the Gold Coast district were singled out for using methods to have victims withdraw complaints relating to burglaries, stealing or wilful damage.
Methods including sending them letters requiring a response within seven days or the complaint would be withdrawn, and a policy in which if the victims weren’t able to be contacted after three attempts, the complaint would be deemed withdrawn.
“We found governance over crime data is poor,” the report said.
“Additionally, officers’ inappropriate practices in this district of altering crime data statistics have gone unnoticed or unchallenged at senior levels.
The Gold Coast District cooked the books in an organised way and the QPS leadership either didn’t notice or wasn’t interested. It is hardly a secret that QPS has some history of enabling small pockets of its members and units to form unhealthy cultures and promote improper practices.
Firearms registry leaks
We write to you about the increase in firearms thefts to 2015 and the subsequent decline in thefts. The Police Minister recently announced a decline in firearms thefts:
Gun theft in Queensland is at its lowest in four years, as the Palaszczuk Government continues to provide the resources that police need to crack down on illegal gun possession and stealing.
Queensland Police Service (QPS) statistics show the number of firearms stolen decreased to 581 in 2017, compared to 777 in 2016, 614 in 2015 and 627 in 2014.
From 2016, a number of Queensland Police members were identified as unlawfully obtaining and sharing confidential QPS information. We understand a crackdown took place around this time and resulted in the following dismissals.
In April 2016, a 31 year-old officer was reported stood down (here) for accessing and releasing confidential information.
In May 2016, a 38 year-old officer was reported charged in the Magistrates Court for similar.
In August 2016, a 56 year-old officer and a 46 year-old officer were reported stood down for accessing and releasing confidential information.
In November 2017, a 20 year-old officer was stood down for similar.
This is clearly not an isolated problem. Lots of officers (and presumably unreported civilian staff) are being sacked for leaking.
In other States, particularly Victoria, rashes of firearms thefts are suspected to have taken place through the leaks of firearms registry information. In Queensland, such information is at the fingertips of virtually every Police member and many civilian staff. We are concerned that, to some serious if unintentional extent, QPS has ‘created the problem’ of increasing thefts from licensed owners through leaks from its firearms registry.
Now, the QPS seeks credit for cleaning up the problem they may well have created through initiatives such as Operation Quebec Camouflage were large numbers of detectives and other experienced Police have spent a great deal of time and money confiscating over 869 weapons (including many non-firearms, such as handcuffs). 110 search warrants were executed for recovery of 119 weapons. It was a remarkably large commitment of Police resources executing over 100 warrants for a relatively small haul including handcuffs, air rifles and capsicum spray.
We appreciate you are both small agencies and may choose not to take this matter further. With or without you, it may snowball into a scandal of its own soon enough.
For Law Abiding Firearm Owners Inc