Queensland’s top cop stands down amid mounting pressure

Feb 20, 2024
The decision comes amid public outcry over youth crime. Source: Darren England/AAP PHOTOS.

Queensland’s top cop will stand down, putting an end to mounting speculation regarding her future amid a surge in youth crime and reports of unrest among officers.

Facing ongoing pressure and with her contract set to conclude in July, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll chose not to seek an extension, deciding to leave her position on March 1, marking the end of her nearly five-year leadership.

Originally planning to discuss her future with the state government in the coming weeks, Carroll expedited her announcement, addressing the media on Tuesday, February 20.

“Since the start of the year, I’ve had candid conversations with my husband, with my children, who have been unbelievably supportive, every step of the way,” she told reporters.

“I made this decision and was going to have the discussion about not renewing my contract with the minister in about two weeks’ time, but because of the heightened speculation and commentary, I brought these discussions forward.”

The decision comes amid public outcry over youth crime, highlighted by the alleged stabbing of 70-year-old grandmother Vyleen White in a suspected carjacking near Brisbane. Additionally, reports of officer unrest, notably the alleged suspension of Gold Coast officer Senior Sergeant Arron Ottaway, added pressure on Carroll to take action.

While acknowledging the challenges, Carroll said she didn’t feel like a “scapegoat” after confirming she would stand down.

“I would love to have had the conversation with the (police) minister in my time … but I purposely brought it forward so we can move on – this was my decision,” she said.

“But it is challenging, the exponential increase in demand is something that we have never seen before, particularly prior to COVID.

“The world has changed since COVID. To have in one year a 25 per cent increase in domestic violence is just unheard of.”

During her tenure, Carroll led the Queensland Police Service through various challenges, including the COVID-19 response, a royal commission into the police’s handling of domestic violence, and the ongoing youth crime crisis.

She refrained from speculating on her successor when revealing her plans to Police Minister Mark Ryan on Tuesday morning.

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