(A follow up to yesterday’s article announcing the CCC findings of discrimination)
Police hiring spree found to be discriminatory, 200 eligible men miss out
Courier Mail 13May2021

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and former police commissioner Ian Stewart, Picture: Darren England

ACADEMY RECRUITMENT STANDARDS DROPPED

ABOUT 2000 men who applied to become Queensland police officers were discriminated against, while women “progressed” even after failing physical or psychological requirements, a scathing Crime and Corruption Commission investigation has found.

The CCC found that although all men who applied between July 2016 until the end of 2017 were discriminated against, 200 of them would now be serving police officers had they not been subjected to a recruitment process that wrongly favoured women who – in some cases – had not even met the normal minimum standards.

The dodgy recruitment practices were revealed with the release of a CCC report into former commissioner Ian Stewart’s hastily implemented 50:50 gender push.

Three employees involved have been suspended by the Queensland Police Service and a fourth has left, with the CCC declaring that it plans to take action in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The recruitment push began in 2015 when Mr Stewart announced that he wanted to achieve “not less than 50 per cent” female recruits going forward.

One “witness” would later tell the CCC that anyone with “grade four maths” could see that turning a small number of female applicants into a 50 per cent recruitment quota would need to involve discrimination.

The CCC report said that the announcement was made without any “prior study, no business case or legal advice sought”.

The “target”, which Mr Stewart insisted was only an “aspiration” and never a directive, proved hugely problematic. In 2016, it was proposed that any woman who met the “minimum” standards on physical and cognitive tests would be “offered appointment”, even if she had a “heightened” psychological risk. The report said recruitment staff began expressing concerns that they were “short of suitable female applicants”, with only 163 women in the recruitment pool to fill 160 positions.

“We are running short of women,” one staff member said in an email, followed by “we are sooooooo screwed”.

In April 2016, a staffer approved making offers to female applicants who were yet to pass all the physical testing and for whom reference checks had not been done.

In May, a senior staffer “pressured” psychologists over their assessments of 20 female applicants.

Later, five women were reassessed and “progressed”, having not met psychological criteria, including two previously deemed “high risk”.

The CCC found that eventually recruitment standards were dropped for women while men got through only if they “exceeded artificially high cut-off scores”.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll said that while the CCC report identified the conduct had ceased in 2018, she had asked for a review of current recruitment practises.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said there was no room for quotas .

“We are sick and tired of these woke, pandering, pondering exercises in relation to quotas,” he said.

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