Qld police reshuffle ruffles feathers
The recruitment of a Victorian to the upper echelons of Queensland’s police force has prompted the police union to brand it an insult to already-demoralised local candidates.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart announced a raft of changes on Friday, including the appointment of five new assistant commissioners and the reassignment of three existing deputy commissioners.
But Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says the inclusion of current VicPol Assistant Commissioner Tracy Linford is a slight to the force’s existing staff.
“It is a slap in the face for all hard-working Queensland police,” he said.
“I do not believe we need to import talent.”
While he stressed he had no personal qualms with Ms Linford, Mr Leavers said the reshuffle would only further demoralise staff left “gobsmacked” by the changes.
“Since the Fitzgerald Inquiry, (morale) has never been lower,” he said.
The QPU president took aim at embattled Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller for an apparent lack of competence in the portfolio and accused her of signing off on the restructure without due consideration.
“Talking to the minister, she simply doesn’t understand policing in any way, shape or form. It’s pointless,” he said.
The reassignment of Chief Superintendent Stephen Holland – who has fulfilled assistant commissioner duties on the Gold Coast – to far north Queensland also smacked of “punishment”, Mr Leavers claimed.
But Mr Stewart insisted the restructure would help the force tackle pressing issues such as terrorism, the so-called ice epidemic and domestic violence.
He also defended the recruitment of Ms Linford, who has counter-terrorism experience, through a merit-based process.
Notably, the commissioner’s own recruitment process came under scrutiny only weeks earlier when the government granted him a two-year contract extension without re-advertising the position.
“Movement is not about individuals, it’s about the whole organisation,” he stressed.
He said deputy commissioners Ross Barnett and Brett Pointing would continue to play a role in Commonwealth Games preparations and domestic violence campaigning respectively.
Mr Stewart said their reassignments, along with Steve Gollschewski, were enacted at his discretion.
With a total of 10 assistant commissioners set to work under him, he declared the appointments as the most significant injection of fresh leadership in the state’s police history.
The five newly recruited assistant commissioners went before a three-strong panel including the commissioner.