Queensland’s police commissioner says the administrators of a private police officer Facebook group where racist, sexist and homophobic posts have been made will be “spoken to,” and further disciplinary action is possible. There are about 3600 members of the Defend the Blue Facebook page, which The Australian reports was started a year ago by a senior police officer.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says the page was started with “good intentions,” including support for mental health issues and “general chatter among mates”, but it has taken a dark turn in recent months.
There are now posts criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and supporting Northern Territory Police Constable Zach Rolfe, who is on trial for the alleged murder of Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker.
Some of the controversial posts also criticize Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and other state government MPs.
Ms. Carroll has ordered an investigation into the page and those who made the posts.
“There’s a minority who say and do very unacceptable things,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
“There are racist comments, there are homophobic comments, and those are not in line with our values or the expectations of the community.” Ethical Standards Command is probing the page and those who made the controversial and, in some cases, “defamatory” posts.
The commissioner said Defend the Blue is difficult to investigate because it’s a private page, and some members use fake names. Still, she expects preliminary action to be taken soon.
“I expect a professional organization to serve their community. Well, that site, its administrators, and some of the people on there, and the pseudonyms they use, will be investigated,” Ms. Carroll said.
If disciplinary action needs to be taken, it will be accepted.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the force was disappointed “as an organization” about the existence of the Facebook page. He said any serving officers found to have done anything wrong would face the same consequences as any member of the public would.
It’s unclear whether the investigation’s findings or any disciplinary action taken against the group’s members will be made public . Mr. Gollschewski wouldn’t comment on whether the page reflected deeper cultural issues for the Queensland Police Service’s 12,000 officers. Like any organization, we have challenges with some of our employees from time to time, and we need to address them,” he said.