Qld top cop to stand down, says not a scapegoat

Fraser Barton and Laine Clark |

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll is considering not seeking to extend her contract.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll is considering not seeking to extend her contract.

Queensland’s top cop will step down, fast-tracking her departure amid mounting pressure but insistent she is not a “scapegoat”.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll ended speculation about her future after an outcry over youth crime and reports of officer unrest.

After almost five years at the helm, Ms Carroll says she will not renew her contract set to expire in July and will instead mark her final day on March 1.

Queensland’s 20th police commissioner had been set to discuss her future with the state government in the coming weeks.

However, the first woman to take over as Queensland’s top cop fast-tracked her decision after media scrutiny intensified.

“Since the start of the year, I’ve had candid conversations with my husband, with my children, who have been unbelievably supportive every step of the way,” she told reporters.

“I made this decision and was going to have the discussion about not renewing my contract with the minister in about two weeks’ time.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll
Ms Carroll brought forward her resignation amid speculation about her future. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“But because of the heightened speculation and commentary, I brought these discussions forward.”

Ms Carroll was facing increasing pressure over youth crime after grandmother Vyleen White was fatally stabbed outside a shopping centre west of Brisbane in a suspected carjacking earlier this month.

There had also been reports of officers being disgruntled and fatigued by the demands of combating juvenile offenders and domestic violence.

But Ms Carroll said it was her decision alone to stand down despite the recent media scrutiny.

“I don’t feel like I’ve been made a scapegoat … I would love to have had the conversation with the minister in my time … but I purposely brought it forward so we can move on,” she said.

“This is my decision. But it (policing) is challenging. The exponential increase in demand is something that we have never seen before, particularly prior to COVID.

“The world has changed since COVID. To have in one year a 25 per cent increase in domestic violence is just unheard of.”

Ms Carroll told Police Minister Mark Ryan on Tuesday morning she would not be renewing her contract reportedly worth $650,000 a year.

“I’m very sad about it because you’ve got a distinguished leader here who has dedicated her entire life to serving Queensland and she’s had to make a decision earlier because of a public narrative,” Mr Ryan said.

“I’m extremely grateful for her service…history will be very kind to Commissioner Carroll.”

Steven Miles, Katarina Carroll and Mark Ryan
Police Minister Mark Ryan (right) paid tribute to Ms Carroll, calling her a distinguished leader. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Carroll spent five years as Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner before taking over as head of police in July 2019.

Her stint included overseeing the COVID-19 response, a royal commission into the police’s domestic violence response and the ongoing youth crime crisis.

Ms Carroll said QPS’ response to youth crime had been outstanding but described it as a “complex” issue.

“It’s dangerous, it’s escalating and it certainly is one of the biggest focuses of the QPS,” she said.

Ms Carroll said the 2014 G20 summit was a career highlight, while mid-2021 and late 2022 marked her “darkest days”.

Senior Constable Dave Masters was killed on duty on June 26, 2021 while constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow lost their lives in the Wieambilla shootings a year later.

“They were heart-wrenching moments which rocked our blue family and I know this organisation will never forget the contributions of those fine officers,” an emotional Ms Carroll said.

She would not speculate on her replacement.

“I believe it is time to allow new leadership to guide the organisation forward,” Ms Carroll said.