Disciplinary action is possible after a report revealed the Queensland Police Service discriminated against 200 men who weren’t hired because of a female-focused hiring spree.

Jessica Marszalek and Kate Kyriacou

3 min read

May 12, 2021 – 6:14PM

Courier Mail

Police discriminated against men in a female-focused hiring spree that saw 200 men who should have been hired miss out on a job.

The bombshell finding is contained in a Crime and Corruption Commission report tabled in parliament today into a female recruitment strategy employed by the Queensland Police Service under then-Commissioner Ian Stewart between December 2015 to October 2018.

“The discriminatory practices saw different standards applied to female and male applicants, with females selected in preference to male applicants who had performed to a higher standard across entry assessments,” the corruption watchdog found.

“The investigation shows around 2000 male applicants were subject to discriminatory assessment practices which prevented them from progressing through the recruitment process over approximately an 18-month period from July 2016 to the end of 2017.

The CCC alleges standards were lowered to allow the employment of female recruits. \

“If the various discriminatory practices had not been implemented, the CCC estimates approximately 200 more meritorious male applicants would have been successful in their attempt to join the QPS.”

The CCC found that while there was “insufficient evidence” to support criminal action, there was evidence that warranted disciplinary action.

“The CCC plans to take action in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) … against one or more of the (persons of interest) seeking a finding of corrupt conduct,” the report said.

The CCC alleges staff in the recruiting section were so intent on achieving the gender equity targets that they lowered standards and allowed female recruits to progress even though they had failed certain entry requirements.

“By late 2017, in order to achieve the target of 50 per cent female recruitment, some female applicants were approved for progression by methods including: lowering the required standard for female applicants on cognitive assessment (including for female applicants who had already previously been told they did not meet the required standard), allowing female applicants who had failed aspects of the physical assessment to progress and allowing female applicants who had previously been assessed as not suitable on psychological grounds to progress.”

The Courier-Mail broke the news in January 2020 that an investigation was under way after allegations were made of “irregularities” within the recruitment process.

At the time, a QPS spokesman confirmed a review had taken place and an investigation had begun.

“As a result, allegations of irregularities associated with some past police recruiting processes were identified,” the spokesman said.

“These allegations are now subject to investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission and QPS Ethical Standards Command

“In the meantime, the QPS has put mechanisms in place to ensure confidence in more recent and ongoing recruiting processes.”

A statement released by the Queensland Police Service said disciplinary action had been taken against three people and a fourth had since left the service.

“Two QPS employees and a Public Safety Business Agency employee have been suspended as part of an internal disciplinary process,” the statement said.

“Another person identified in the report has since left the QPS.”

Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the QPS accepted the CCC report and would implement all recommendations as a matter of priority.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll described the conduct outlined in the report as disappointing. File picture: Matt Taylor

“The QPS became aware of concerns around recruiting practices following a change of leadership at our executive level and the concerns were immediately reported to the CCC in November 2019,” Ms Carroll said.

“We have fully co-operated with the CCC investigation.

“The conduct alleged in this report is completely disappointing and can I reassure the public that this alleged behaviour does not meet the standards or expectation of our Queensland Police officers and dedicated staff.”

Ms Carroll said six women had been identified as having not met the minimum standards to enter the academy.

But she said all six graduated successfully having met all the required standards to become a police officer.

“While the CCC report identifies that this misconduct ceased in January 2018, I have asked Assistant Commissioner Charysse Pond to conduct a complete review of the QPS recruitment practices to strengthen transparency and to ensure this does not happen again,” Ms Carroll said.

“I am committed to independent, transparent and impartial entry testing for all prospective police recruits.

“When I was sworn in as Commissioner, I said that while it is important to be inclusive and diverse, we should always take the best possible applicants regardless of their gender or ethnicity.

“The public as well as our own police officers rightly expect no favours or preferential treatment for any applicant.”

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said there was no room for quotas in the police service, saying it was a “stain” on the QPS.

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

“Women in the police, they don’t want to be a token.

“I believe we need to look at those (200) people and reassess them and if they are still fit and proper people, they should be given the opportunity to join the Queensland Police Service, because they were denied by a corrupt system.”

Mr Leavers said those involved in the process should be “dealt with harshly”.

Follow up article on 13th May 2021
Men sent to back of thin blue line

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