Top Qld cop denies 'cover up culture' after audit report
QUEENSLAND Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has moved to reassure the public about the way police deal with crime statistics, saying there is no culture of cover up.
"It has been reported in some media outlets today that the Queensland Police Service has been 'fudging' or 'rorting' crime statistics and that there is a culture of 'cover-ups'," he said in a statement.
The Queensland Audit Office report released yesterday has investigated how crime data is being mismanaged as police chase clearance targets instead of accuracy.
"I want to be very clear - nothing could be further from the truth," Mr Stewart said.
"We looked at almost 60,000 records which had been classified as 'unfounded' or 'withdrawn' between November 1 2015 and January 26 this year.
"What the investigation found was that 9.4 per cent of the records finalised in this manner had been incorrectly classified.
"That's 1 per cent of all crime reports submitted in that period, and less if all records are taken into account.
"I want to stress - they were incorrectly classified - not deliberately misclassified. There is a difference.
"Yes - the audit found several deficiencies but they are procedural and process anomalies linked directly to the complexity of the environment our officers work in every day. An environment that is rapidly changing.
"I am not sugar-coating the issue - there are clearly things we have to do better, and we will … but to imply that officers are deliberately and corruptly manipulating crime data to suit some officially sanctioned agenda is simply not correct."
He said crime statistics were an important tool the police service uses so it was in its interest to have accurate crime rates.
Speaking about a range of problems identified on the Gold Coast Commissioner Steward thanked two officers who came forward with concerns about the way crime reports were being wrongly classified.
"I thank those two members for bringing this to our attention. They did what I expect every member of our organisation should do," he said.
"On the Gold Coast specifically, the QAO clearly identifies areas of risk around some of the data classification practices - for example, a risk that these practices could leave staff open to claims of manipulation.
"But again, I would like to stress that both the QAO and our Ethical Standards Command investigation found no evidence of corrupt behaviour by police."
"I want to reassure the community that the Queensland Police Service strives at all times to act with the utmost integrity and will always be open and transparent."