Monday, May 28, 2007

Good cops join growing call for Royal Commission

Good cops join growing call for Royal Commission

Investigate editor Ian Wishart says an embarrassing media stunt has backfired on police and the government with this afternoon’s admission by the Police Complaints Authority that it has no power to investigate serious allegations of police corruption.

Both Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Police Minister Annette King had made much of Broad’s decision to ask the PCA to investigate the issues raised by Investigate magazine two weeks ago.

But Investigate’s editor says the PCA refusal to investigate shows the Police were only going through the motions and didn’t even bother to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to ensure an investigation actually took place.

“Best case scenario is that Police National Headquarters are simply incompetent and incapable of laying a functional complaint with the PCA. Worst case scenario is that PNHQ is corrupt as charged, and simply undertook the ‘referral’ to the PCA as a media publicity stunt to make it look like something was being done, in which case that stunt has now backfired embarrassingly on both police and their Minister,” says Wishart.

“If you read the PCA decision carefully, you’ll see they acknowledge the allegations are ‘serious’ and that they span a 15 year time period. Very pointedly the PCA then says the relevant Act of Parliament does not give the PCA the functions of a Commission of Inquiry. That’s a clear signal that Lowell Goddard probably believes a Royal Commission is the best course of action as well. She didn’t even have to mention it.

“Since the story broke in the latest Investigate magazine, we’ve been deluged with documents and information from current and former police telling us we’re right on target and telling us where to find more evidence.

“Good cops want this corrupt stranglehold over their profession broken, and that’s something Police Association spokesman Greg O’Connor should think about before he opens his mouth again.

“The PCA says that the only way of bringing the matters under PCA jurisdiction would be for the Police Commissioner to first launch an internal investigation into himself and his colleagues – a suggestion laughable because of the blatant conflicts of interest involved,” says Wishart.

Police National Headquarters now unsurprisingly says it has no intentions of starting its own investigation, leaving a Commission of Inquiry the only option.

“Only residents of a banana republic would be comfortably reassured by today’s developments," said Wishart.

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