Atkinson reflects on 40 years in policing

Outgoing Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson says he believes the Queensland Police Service is free from corruption.

Speaking at a public lecture at the Queensland Cricketers Club this week, Commissioner Atkinson said the Fitzgerald Inquiry of the 1980s had brought about many changes.

“Fitzgerald said the two biggest problems in the police department were police giving false evidence and systemic entrenched corruption.

“You do not hear any more of police fabricating evidence. And do we have systematic entrenched corruption? I say as your commissioner unequivocally not.

“I don’t think anyone would say with 11,000 police that from year to year there won’t be someone who does the wrong thing.

“What’s important though is that it’s not organised and it’s not high level and what’s also important is that those people get caught. But it does require eternal vigilance.”

He said the 80s was the most significant decade for Queensland. Apart from the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the 80s saw the Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane, World Expo and the birth of State of Origin.

“All of those things built our confidence.”

Commissioner Atkinson will retire from the Queensland Police Service on October 31, after more than 40 years service.

He began his career as a constable in 1968 before becoming a detective in a one-officer Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) at Goondiwindi.

He was a detective for about 20 years and in charge of CIB and Juvenile Aid offices. He was involved in the change management processes in the QPS post Fitzgerald from 1990 and further organisational change following the Public Sector Management Commission Review and Report Recommendations of the QPS in 1993.

He was appointed as Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service on November 1, 2000.

The public lecture was hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security.