Monday, April 2, 2012

Blind eye to drunk police officer in Townsville sparks inquiry

POLICE Ethical Standards Unit is investigating why an officer allegedly found drunk, disorderly and in a state of undress was not charged after a night in Townsville's watchhouse.

The 27-year-old based in North Queensland was on his way to the Queensland Police Service Rugby League Festival at Airlie Beach late last month, but it's unclear whether he was also caught driving over the limit.

The Courier-Mail understands that his visit wasn't logged at the watchhouse, breaching police procedure. Police are also required to report misconduct involving officers to superiors.

The officer, in Townsville for an internal QPS course, was allegedly at least partially naked and acting inappropriately on Monday, March 26. "The officer was allegedly found affected by alcohol and taken by police to the watchhouse," QPS said in a statement.

"Police regularly divert persons from formal charges for a number of reasons, including persons who are drunk in a public place ... in this case however the officer was taken to the watchhouse and was not charged at the time. "The Service acknowledges that correct procedure was not followed in this regard."

The Courier-Mail understands the matter was only raised when the officer reported his watch had been stolen at the watchhouse, but there were no records he'd even been there. "The officer involved advised a colleague he lost his watch, which was located and subsequently returned to him," QPS said in a statement.

Police said the investigation would focus on the officer's conduct as well as the "actions and decision-making of a number of officers aware of the incident or involved in it".

It's not the first time police have been reported behaving badly at the time of the QPS Rugby League Festival. Last year, an officer from the Cairns Special Emergency Response squad pleaded guilty to public nuisance after allegedly dancing in his underpants near the face of a fellow officer who passed out at the Kingaroy McDonald's during the 2011 country football carnival celebrations.

Constable Daniel Kennedy was fined $250 at Kingaroy Magistrate's Court. It was revealed at the time, the action was caught on closed circuit television cameras monitoring the McDonald's restaurant.


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