News Item: (AUS) Gold Coast police TV series accused of being government PR campaign
(Category: General News)
Posted by ace
Thursday 31 July 2014 - 14:51:07

Queensland's police minister says he did not authorise a new TV series about crime fighting on the Gold Coast, amid claims the government is using senior police to push its law-and-order agenda.

Network Ten has announced a 10-part series, titled Gold Coast Cops, which follows the police Rapid Action and Patrols Group (RAP) as it battles bikie and organised crime in the tourist city.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey is quoted in a Network Ten statement about the series, but his office says Queensland police, not the minister, decide if TV crews can take footage.

"It's an internal police operation. The police do it all the time on the (TV) news," a spokesman for Mr Dempsey said.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties vice-president Terry O'Gorman says the series is more evidence that "senior police are prepared to be politically used by this government".

He said Police Commissioner Ian Stewart must explain why the network was given special access to the unit, calling it a clear attempt at spin and propaganda.

"It's incumbent on the police commissioner to say who made the approach (about making the series) and, in agreeing to it, did he liaise with his minister, and what directions was he given?" Mr O'Gorman said.

"This program is clearly intended to paint the police in a good light, and therefore to paint the government in a good light."

Mr O'Gorman said there should have been an open tender process for any decision to grant exclusive access to police for commercial purposes.

"He is the commissioner's boss and while he can't direct the commissioner on operational matters, he can certainly seek a please explain in relation to this," Mr O'Gorman said.

"Is he saying his commissioner entered into a remarkable, one-sided, highly commercially sought arrangement and didn't even discuss it with him?"

Mr O'Gorman has previously called on Mr Stewart to stop making media comments supporting the politics and policies of the government.

Gold Coast City Council's acting mayor, Donna Gates, says the council was not told about the series and is worried it will hurt the region's tourism industry.

She has asked the mayor's chief of staff to contact the police minister. Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey's office said it had no knowledge of the series.

In the Network Ten statement, the police minister lauds the work of the police unit.

"The RAP is part of the government's strong plan for a brighter and safer future for the Gold Coast community," Mr Dempsey said.

"Crime is down and the Gold Coast is now a safer place for families because of the RAP."

The Ten statement also quoted Superintendent Jim Keogh, who leads the unit. He says police are committed to restoring public confidence by focusing on public disorder and street violence through high-visibility policing.

Network Ten referred questions to police media when asked if the police commissioner or any government department or minister was involved in approving access so the series could be made.

Comment has been sought from the police commissioner.

This news item is from White Trash Networks
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