Qld police recruiters 'biased against men'
Two hundred men missed out on joining the Queensland police force because recruiters discriminated against them in favour of women, a new report says.
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) says the Queensland Police Service's 50/50 recruitment strategy resulted in discriminatory practices being used against male candidates.
Instead of advertising some positions exclusively for female candidates, the CCC said the QPS recruiting section discriminated against 200 eligible male candidates between 2016 and 2017.
The report said that in some cases ineligible females had been selected over male applicants who had performed to a higher standard across entry assessments.
"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," said the report, tabled in parliament on Wednesday.
The QPS recruiting section also used misleading, deceptive and false reporting practices about recruitment, CCC chairman Alan MacSporran said.
He said management knew discriminatory practices were being used and provided misleading and deceptive information to QPS executives.
Part of the problem was that then commissioner Ian Stewart never clarified whether the 50/50 target was real or aspirational, the report said.
"Among the executive, no one appears to have given any serious thought to - or asked any critical questions about - a strategy that would affect the whole organisation for years to come," Mr MacSporran wrote.
The CCC said there was not enough evidence to take criminal action against those involved but disciplinary measures were appropriate.
Positive discrimination is allowed when an exemption is granted but Queensland Police never asked for one, Mr MacSporran told reporters on Wednesday.
"The irony is ... you can apply to the Commission for an exemption for positive affirmative discrimination. It wasn't done here so it was unlawful conduct," he said.
"The (former) commissioner seems to have assumed that was what was in play without finding out the details of it, if he'd asked he would have been told there was no advice, there was no application for exemption."
Achieving a more diverse police force through such an exemption is not a path the current Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll is keen to pursue.
"A lot more work needs to be done at the front end to genuinely have a discussion about more women joining the organisation, and better recruiting strategies to do that," she said on Wednesday.
Three QPS employees have been suspended in the wake of the report, while a fourth has already left the force, Ms Carroll said.
"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," she said in a statement.
Ms Carroll said that six women identified in the report who were recruited despite failing to meet the minimum entry standards had successfully graduated from the academy.
She said Assistant Commissioner Charysse Pond will conduct a review of recruitment practices to strengthen transparency and ensure the episode was not repeated.
"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 commissioner said.
"The public as well as our own police officers rightly expects no favours or preferential treatment for any applicant."
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