ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, MANAGEMENT AND POLICIES OF QUEENSLAND POLICE INVOLVED WITH CHILD PROTECTION INVESTIGATIONS

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1 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, MANAGEMENT AND POLICIES OF QUEENSLAND POLICE INVOLVED WITH CHILD PROTECTION INVESTIGATIONS Detective Superintendent John Reilly State Crime Operations Command Queensland Police Service. Paper presented at the Children and Crime: Victims and Offenders Conference convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology and held in Brisbane, June 1999

2 Introduction The Queensland Police Service has a continuing commitment to child protection and has established specialist sections of the Service to deal with child protection issues. The Service is committed to the inter-disciplinary, inter-agency management system for notifications of suspected child abuse and neglect that has been developed over the last twenty years. The Queensland approach to child protection is one of co-operation between the agencies involved and co-ordinated through the Co-ordinating Committee on Child Abuse (CCOCA) which was established in 1978 by Cabinet Direction to provide a formal mechanism to coordinate the activities of the various agencies. CCOCA introduced the SCAN team system in 1980 and there are now 39 teams throughout Queensland. (CCOCA Annual Report 1997/98). Each Scan team has three core members being from Health ( usually a Doctor), Dept. of Families, Youth and Community Care (DFYCC) and police ( usually a Det. Sergt.). Investigations into child sexual abuse and paedophilia are without doubt the most difficult and challenging of all criminal investigations. Child sexual abuse is an issue that our society has traditionally kept hidden or deliberately covered up and it is only during the last twenty years and particularly the last ten or so that the enormity of the problem has surfaced and this blight on our society exposed. Investigations of notifications of child abuse and neglect and complaints of paedophilia by police in Queensland are usually undertaken by specialist investigators attached to Juvenile Aid Bureaux (JAB) or the Child and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit (CSAIU) or Task Force Argos (TF Argos). These type of investigations presented new challenges for law enforcement and needed specialist responses. The Queensland Police Service structure, policies and practices to meet these challenges have evolved during the past twenty years to a level where it should now be considered among the leaders in police child protection investigations. This paper will briefly examine the current structure of the Queensland Police and its policies and practices in relation to child protection issues. Historical Background Prior to the establishment of Scan teams, the then Queensland Police Force had developed Juvenile Aid Bureaux throughout Queensland to specialise in the investigation of offences committed by juveniles and offences committed on juveniles and children. The philosophy of the JAB was (and still is ) to divert children away from the criminal justice system through the use of police discretion in the form of official cautions. The cautioning process was developed and refined to discover the reason for juvenile offending and to encourage the child not to offend in the future. Cautioning was also designed to establish whether the child was being offended against through sexual abuse or neglect or through domestic violence in the family unit. The Brisbane JAB had a staff of over 100 throughout the greater metropolitan area with two Detective Inspectors, one of whom was the State Co-ordinator for JAB thus allowing direction to be given as to policy and practice with all JAB staff throughout the State. Most major regional centres throughout Queensland have a JAB reporting direct to the District Officer. 2

3 Because of the structure of JAB and their specialisation in dealing with children and youth issues, it was decided that the new Scan teams established in 1980 would be attended by JAB staff throughout the State under the direction of the Detective Inspector, State Co-ordinator of JAB in Brisbane. During the 1980 s the Scan team system established itself throughout the State with the police input usually coming from JAB in close co-operation with DFYCC and Health. There were many difficulties with this system initially because of the different perspectives each core member brought to the Scan team deliberations but generally it developed into a very effective system of managing notifications of child abuse and neglect. The Brisbane Juvenile Aid Bureau established a specialist Child Abuse Unit in 1981which handled most child abuse investigations in the metropolitan area except in the Inala area. Three major Scan teams were established in Brisbane being Mater, Royal Brisbane Hospital and North Brisbane. In April, 1991 as a result of recommendations made by the Fitzgerald Inquiry the Queensland Police Service was formally Regionalised, the Brisbane Juvenile Aid Bureau broken up into Metropolitan South and North Regional JABS with the Child Abuse Unit remaining part of what was then called Task Force Command (now State Crime Operations Command). Current Police Organizational Structure The Queensland Police Service now has eight police regions and three commands, each under the direction of an Assistant Commissioner with each Assistant Commissioner reporting direct to the Deputy Commissioner of Police. There are four directorates being Administration, Finance, Human Resources and Information Management with each Director reporting to the Executive Director, Corporate Services. State Crime Operations Command (SCOC) is headquartered in Brisbane and has a state wide mandate to investigate organized and major crime and serial offences that cross regional boundaries. SCOC is made up of the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence of Queensland (BCIQ), Crime Stoppers Queensland and Crime Operations Branch (COB). Crime Operations Branch has a number of specialised investigation units including Drug Squad, Homicide, Property Crime, Covert & Surveillance, Fraud, Organised Crime, Child & Sexual Assault, TF Argos, Forensic Computer Examination and a number of professional support staff. SCOC has a staffing of 469 sworn officers and 109 unsworn staff and conducts investigations using a multi-disciplinary approach with support from intelligence analysts, computer analysts, legal and financial analysts, covert operatives, surveillance and technical support.(1997/98 QPS Annual Report p 36) CSAIU and TF Argos are part of Crime Operations Branch and are the specialist units which deal with child abuse and neglect issues within the Metropolitan area of Brisbane, paedophilia investigations throughout the State and investigations into complaints about abuse in institutions. The Detective Superintendent in control of these two areas is also the State Coordinator for JABS and the Police Service representative on the CCOCA. TF Argos and the CSAIU both have a Detective Inspector in charge and each unit is divided into operational teams under a Det. Sergeant who reports to a Det. Senior Sergeant. The CSAIU have teams that attend to Mater Scan, Royal Brisbane Scan and North Brisbane Scan. This unit also assists regions with sexual offences committed on adults and serial rape investigations. TF Argos has a specialist team dealing with child abuse material on the 3

4 internet and this team has met with outstanding success in recent months. Both units are complemented by other specialist areas of Crime Operations Branch and during investigations teams can call on legal analysts, financial analysts, surveillance teams, technical officers, intelligence analysts, forensic computer examination unit and covert operatives. There are 35 sworn staff and three unsworn staff at the CSAIU while TF Argos has 25 sworn and 2 unsworn staff with four intelligence analysts from BCIQ attached to these units. Each JAB throughout the State has a dedicated Child Abuse Investigation Unit attached to it and staff in these units attend to most notifications involving police investigations and the Officer in Charge of each unit is usually the police representative on the local Scan team. Whilst most difficulties are resolved locally, each JAB has the ability to deal directly with the Det. Superintendent, State Co-ordinatior of JABS to resolve any difficulties with other government departments or to request assistance if the investigation is very large or too involved for local resources. Operationally, each JAB reports to their District Officer. The Detective Superintendent in control of CSAIU and TF Argos also controls Crime Stoppers Queensland and the Forensic Computer Examination Branch. Apart from the role as State Co-ordinator of JABS, he also attends the CCOCA as the Police Service Representative along with the Det. Inspector of the CSAIU. Through this structure the policies and practices have central co-ordination and control and ensures a quality service is delivered by police involved in child protection in Queensland. Staff Competencies All investigators employed in the specialist child protection units have to undertake the three phases of detective training and complete Competency Acquisition Program (CAP) books on child abuse, sexual offences and other relevant subjects. Additionally all staff are required to complete the Sex Offence Investigation course, ICARE ( interviewing children and recording evidence) and a Juvenile Aid Bureau Course. ICARE courses are joint training between police and DFYCC workers who all work together when doing child protection investigations. Other areas involve Scan team training through CCOCA which some police Scan representatives attend. All are encouraged to continue personal development through the Management Development Program and tertiary studies. Continuous on the job training is encouraged. Current Investigation Practice When a notification or complaint is received by the police it is entered onto the CRISP system and detailed to a team for investigation. If they are not already involved, DFYCC are contacted and an arrangement is made for an interview of the alleged victim by the police and DFYCC worker together. The matter is referred to a Scan team and a case management plan is agreed. Police then go on to do any criminal investigation, interview the alleged offender and depending on the case, it will be reported back to Scan and information exchanged between the relevant agencies to enable to best result to be achieved for the benefit of the child firstly and society generally. Police are fully responsible for any criminal prosecutions. For the purposes of definition and understanding of the difference between matters investigated by the CSAIU and TF Argos, the CSAIU investigates matters occurring within the family unit while TF Argos investigates matters outside the family unit, organized paedophilia and child abuse material on the internet. 4

5 One detective at the CSAIU has the dedicated position of police co-ordinator for the PACT ( Protect All Children Today) child witness support program which is strongly supported by the Queensland Police Service and delivers a professional volunteer service which is of great benefit to child witnesses, their families, the community and in particular the overworked police investigators. This is a program that should be replicated the world over because of its excellent service. Resources Although police will always claim that they could achieve a better outcome if there were more resources available, the fact is that we all have to do the best we can with what is currently available. Specialist units at Crime Operations Branch are fortunate to have sufficient resources available to respond to current needs. Additionally there is the ability to call on resources from other areas of Crime Operations and BCIQ should the need arise. The Service has established special interview rooms throughout the State that are designed for interviewing child victims and child witnesses on audio visual and each new police establishment of the last ten years has such a room. Other Agencies TF Argos and the CSAIU have a close working liaison with the Queensland Crime Commission (QCC) to assist investigations with the special powers of QCC. Project AXIS is an initiative of QCC in partnership with TF Argos to proactively investigate paedophilia, also attempt to establish the extent of organized paedophilia and detail the indicators of a persons potential to commit offences of paedophilia through profiles of personal behaviours leading to offending. These units also maintain a close liaison with the Office of the Children s Commission and the Office of Fair Trading State Classification Officer. Close co-operation and liaison is maintained with DFYCC throughout the State and with the Health Department and Education Department the DPP and the Justice and Attorney Generals Department. Policy Guides Queensland Police Service policy and practice guidelines are outlined in the Operational Procedures Manual which is kept both in hard copy at all police stations and on the QPS Bulletin Board through the Service intranet. These are reviewed on a continuing basis to reflect new legislation and new practices and procedures as the need arises. Chapter of this manual reflects child protection policies and practices. In an effort to provide a quality service to those in need the CSAIU has undertaken research into child interviewing techniques and this has resulted in a program to provide highly trained specialist interviewers of children under the age of six years who may have been sexually abused. A course outline is now being put together and it is hoped that this will be available by the end of

6 Conclusion The organizational structure of the Queensland Police Service to respond to child protection issues has evolved over a period of some twenty years, being constantly reviewed and refined to attempt to deliver a higher quality policing service to victims of child abuse and neglect, their families and Queensland society generally. We are fortunate to be part of the Scan team system which involves a whole of government agencies approach to child protection and has stood the test of time. Close co-operation with other agencies, co-ordinated through CCOCA places the Queensland system as a leading example of modern policing practice in child protection investigations. References. Co-ordinating Committee on Child Abuse (1996/97) Annual Report. Queensland Police Service (1997/98) Annual Report pp 2. Queensland Police Service (1997/98) Annual Report pp36. Queensland Police Service. Operational Procedures Manual. Chapter 6

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