Qld top cop ‘hopes to survive’ scandals

Marty Silk and Robyn Wuth |

Queensland’s first female top cop says she “hopes to survive” amid a raft of sexism, misogyny and racism scandals in the force, and has pleaded for more time to fix systemic cultural issues.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll’s three-year leadership is under a cloud in its third year as the state government mulls an inquiry report into police culture.

Judge Deborah Richards’ report has criticised Ms Carroll’s evidence as showing she’s either “wilfully blind” or “deliberately obfuscating”, The Australian reports.

It comes as the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) probes a recording of watch house officers allegedly making racist comments, which was leaked to Guardian Australia on Monday.

Ms Carroll has dug in amid the scandals, insisting she will remain in the role she’s held since 2019.

“I’m not wilfully blind. I’m a CEO in charge of 17,500 people. 17,500 people,” she stressed to reporters on Tuesday.

“I’m hoping to survive. I actually believe that I’m the person to take this organisation forward.”

When asked if the commissioner had his support, Police Minister Mark Ryan said: “absolutely”.

The Commision of Inquiry into police responses to domestic violence last month heard multiple allegations of female officers being sexually assaulted, harassed, threatened and bullied by colleagues.

Alleged abusers have been given a slap on the wrist, while victims often stay silent for fear that speaking out will ruin their careers, the probe heard.

Many of the incidents happened under Ms Carroll’s watch with Judge Richard’s report finding she was too “distracted” by the pandemic to make reforms.

The report said Ms Carroll also downplayed “woeful under-resourcing” of the domestic violence command, according to The Australian.

Meanwhile, the CCC is probing a leaked audio recording of Brisbane watch house officers making racist comments about people being held there.

The officers spoke about burying black people and raising fears that Australia “will be f***ing taken over”.

The whistleblower, watch house officer Steven Marshall, raised the recording with the minister because he faced “reprisals” for complaining in official police channels, the Guardian reported on Monday.

Ms Carroll called the language used in the recording “truly abhorrent”, saying it wasn’t in line with QPS values.

However, she said she had to wait until the CCC probe was complete before taking any action.

Chief Superintendent Ray Rohweder is also yet to be disciplined for shouting sexist comments at a conference earlier this year.

He allegedly yelled: “Did she shut her legs on you?” when the MC mentioned a “rough promotional process” while referring to a cut on his face.

Ms Carroll, who’s recently called for “no confidence” dismissal powers, said she was legally constrained from taking stronger action.

As pressure mounts, Ms Carroll pleaded for more time to fix the chronic cultural problems in the police service.

“I do believe that I need the opportunity, and should have the opportunity to continue that reform,” she said.

“Reform is extraordinarily difficult.”

The DV inquiry’s final report is not expected to be released to the public until next week.