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Australia Qld cop promoted after comment walkout

23:42  18 august  2022
23:42  18 august  2022 Source:   aap.com.au

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A senior Queensland police officer disciplined for making a misogynistic and offensive remark at a function in front of more than 100 of the state's top-ranking officers was later promoted to chief superintendent.

Katarina Carroll arrives at the inquiry into Queensland Police's response to domestic violence. © Darren England/AAP PHOTOS Katarina Carroll arrives at the inquiry into Queensland Police's response to domestic violence.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll was giving evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Services' Responses to Domestic and Family Violence on Thursday.

Queensland's first female commissioner was forced to confirm that the inappropriate joke was made at a public conference for more than 100 senior leaders of the Queensland Police Service in March.

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The officer was responding to the master of ceremonies, who referenced a cut on his face being the result of a rough promotional process.

The officer called out "Did she shut her legs on you?'', a comment the commissioner was forced to confirm.

A number of officers stormed out of the conference in protest, before some lodged formal complaints.

Despite being formally reprimanded for the "inappropriate and disrespectful"' remark, in July the officer was promoted to chief superintendent.

The inquiry was also told of an incident where a current deputy commissioner referred to another man as a "vagina whisperer'' during a formal speech.

"He used that term in the context that his friend was a gynaecologist and an obstetrician and a world expert in dealing with these issues," Ms Carroll said.

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"The person is a friend of the deputy commissioner and he himself and I believe the circles that he operates within call him that. That's the context."

When asked if that made the remark acceptable, the commissioner conceded it was inappropriate and that the man had been reprimanded.

"They were comments that were extraordinarily unacceptable," Ms Carroll said.

She was asked if senior officers using such "disgusting and derogatory language ... about women'' set the tone for junior officers.

"Yes, it does," Ms Carroll said. "However, what I see there is that both matters were dealt with very, very quickly."

Earlier, the commissioner admitted she did not know that plans to properly resource the police response to domestic violence had been on hold for weeks.

She said she was not aware Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd told the inquiry this month that a plan to better resource police regions to respond to domestic violence incidents had been placed on hold indefinitely.

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"I knew that it had to be done, I did not know at this stage that it was paused," Ms Carroll said.

She agreed with Judge Deborah Richards' suggestion that she had the power to order the restart of the process.

The inquiry also heard a specialist domestic violence unit set up in March 2021 had the fewest resources of any of Queensland's policing units and only 27 staff.

Council assisting Ruth O'Gorman asked what message that sent when there were 38 staff in the police media and public relations unit.

"If you just explain it like that, it is not a good look for the public to see that, that's correct," Ms Carroll said.

Only four staff were initially transferred to the new domestic violence command in March 2021, but at the time the commissioner said the unit would have "increased capability, effective immediately".

She insisted her plan had always been for the model, which was unique in Australia, to evolve over time.

"It wasn't the intention to mislead anyone," Commissioner Carroll said.

"That's exactly what I intended ... an evolution that would be a capability that would take what we do within the organisation to the next level."

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