How to tackle a ‘white’ police officer’s racist comments

Sep 28, 2021 Visualization

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is grappling with a rise in racial profiling in its force, with a report by an independent review finding the police were racially profiling Indigenous people and other vulnerable people.

The review, released today, says the QPS failed to implement a “clear and consistent policy of racial profiling”.

The report was commissioned by the Federal Government after a Queensland Police Federation (QFP) survey showed there was an increase in the number of people who experienced racial profiling by police officers.

AQP’s report found the QSP was using “unprecedented methods” to combat racial profiling, including the creation of a white police officer program, and an inquiry into “race and diversity in policing”.

“The report demonstrates that the QPRS [Queensland Police Service] is failing to achieve racial parity and is failing its officers,” QFP national secretary Richard Richardson said.

“As a result, we believe the QPSS has a responsibility to take a clear and consistent stance against racism in the force.”

The QPS was ordered to pay a $1 million compensation to former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner Andrew Scott, but Mr Richardson said that was not enough.

QPS chief executive Tim Kelly has already been sacked for allegedly using racially divisive language, with Mr Kelly claiming the police did not know he was Aboriginal.

Mr Richardson said the QSS did not receive enough support from the state Government.

Under the Racial Discrimination Act, the QPP must ensure its officers are not “discriminated against” on the basis of race.

It was also criticised for failing to create a dedicated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders’ Commissioner and a special Indigenous officer, which would have helped prevent “a significant increase in racial incidents” during QPS’ “critical times”.

Mr Kelly said he had taken responsibility for “some of the problems” that led to the report’s release.

Queenslanders should not “believe that racism is a problem in the QPs’ community” Mr Richardson also said there was a need to overhaul the QPA, and the QS and QPS should work together to improve the community policing.

He said there needed to be “significant change” in the way the QRP is run, and called for “full public participation in decision-making”.

Queers should not have to “believed that racism … is a [problem in] the community”, Mr Richardson told the ABC’s Insiders program.

This will not happen overnight, he said.

“We are in a position where we are in an environment where we have to change and make it a more effective policing system.”

In an interview with the ABC, Mr Kelly said the review was critical to the QFP’s request for a $250,000 compensation payment to former Indigenous Commissioner Andrew Lonergan, and that the “QPS needs to listen to what people say and change”.

But Mr Richardson rejected the suggestion that the review had found the police racially profiling Aboriginal people, and he said there were “some areas of the Qps that have made significant progress”.

He also said the investigation had found there were gaps in communication and training in response to the reports.

Police are currently conducting an internal review into the QAPS’ response to racial profiling.

ABC News’ James Murnane contributed to this report.


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