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Commissioner ‘too nice for her own good’, but union rejects claims she was victim of hatchet job

The head of Queensland’s police union believes the good nature of outgoing commissioner Katarina Carroll has been taken advantage of, but he denies sexism in the force.

Feb 21, 2024, updated Feb 21, 2024
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll announces her resignation to the media at Police Headquarters in Brisbane.  (AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll announces her resignation to the media at Police Headquarters in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Ms Carroll announced she will not seek an extension to her five-year contract set to expire in July and will step down on March 1 after 41 years of service.

She ended speculation about her future on Tuesday after an outcry over youth crime and reports of officer unrest.

Part of that unrest stemmed from reports of disgruntled and fatigued officers on the Gold Coast, stretched by the constraints of combating juvenile offenders and domestic violence.

Ms Carroll had also come under pressure to intervene in the standing down of Gold Coast officer Senior Sergeant Arron Ottaway, after reports he allegedly helped catch armed offenders by authorising officers to ram a stolen car earlier this month.

Ian Leavers, who heads the Queensland Police Union, denies sexism in the force but indicated Ms Carrroll’s good nature had been taken advantage of.

“I’m not saying sexism but I would say this…I think she’s a very good natured woman, she’s a very caring woman,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

“I think they’ve just taken advantage of it. In previous times, I don’t think they would have had the open hostility towards her, and they would have performed their role as they should.

“I’ve just seen on the Gold Coast over a period of time, they just totally disregard it.

“I don’t think there’s sexism because there’s a lot of policemen and women who are doing an outstanding job, but there are some in the senior ranks (that) just need to get a grip of it and get ahead with the times and start doing their job as they’re told to, and start connecting with the front line.

“Because the front line are the ones who are keeping Queensland as safe as much as we possibly can with restraints we have at times.”

Ms Carroll said she made the decision to bring forward her departure following conversations with her husband and family.

In reflecting on her service, and particularly an independent inquiry into the Queensland police response to domestic and family violence, Ms Carroll said there were bad eggs that brought the force into disrepute.

She acknowledged as CEO it was her responsibility to address those behavioural issues.

“The commission of inquiry was tough,” said Ms Carroll.

“What I tried to get across is that there are people, a minority in my organisation, that have been racist and misogynist and sexist, but that is a minority – predominantly the organisation is a great group of people.

“What the commission of inquiry did was really tarred everyone with the same brush and they were dark days for us.”

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