New top cop’s unlikely first target
KATARINA Carroll has identified boosting morale in the 15,000-strong police force and cutting crime as her key targets when she gets her feet under the Commissioner's desk in Roma Street in July.
"I want Queensland to be the safest state, that's exactly what I want to happen under my leadership," she told The Courier-Mail in an exclusive interview.
Ms Carroll was yesterday revealed as the successful candidate to take over the role from outgoing Commissioner Ian Stewart following an international search that included applicants from Canada and the United Kingdom.
While she felt privileged to make history through her appointment, Ms Carroll said she had earnt the honour through hard work.
She joins the ranks of the powerful women ruling Queensland including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Chief Justice Catherine Holmes.
The budget and staffing numbers have been raised as issues which have affected morale within QPS.
Ms Carroll told The Courier-Mail she will not be afraid to speak up. "I will have no qualms in the future - if I think we need additional staff … then I will go to the government and ask for those staff," she said.
Juvenile criminals are also in her sights and she says she will consider all options to alleviate the problem, including measures other than arrest.
"A large percentage of kids once they are dealt well with at the front-end don't reoffend, but there is that difficult area that will reoffend," Ms Carroll said.
"I will be looking at what more we can do at the front end in terms of youth conferencing, cautioning (and), diversion rather than just the option of arrest."
Her message to bikies is simple - she will be "tough on crime".
"I don't think there has been a softening on bikies, that's always been maintained and it will continue to be maintained," Ms Carroll said.
Counter-terrorism measures would also be a priority, she said.
Ms Carroll has a decorated career in policing, having joined in 1983.
She worked in drug squads, prostitution and criminal investigation branches across Queensland in the '80s and '90s.
After being promoted throughout her career she was appointed operations commander for Australia's G20 in 2014 and helped protect the likes of former US president Barack Obama and former British prime minister David Cameron in Brisbane. Later that year she joined the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service when it was engulfed in a sexual harassment scandal, before implementing major reforms.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers congratulated Ms Carroll and said she was taking the helm at a time when the QPS was facing tremendous pressures.
"We are seeing our policing budgets cut and we have not had any growth in policing numbers in the last two years," he said.
"They are two very important things that directly impact upon morale and community safety and we need to look at the use of technology and numbers and budgets as we move into the future.
"We are also seeing respect from police from the public decline."
Fifteen people applied for the role including two applicants from Canada and one from the UK. Six made it to the panel interview stage including the senior UK police officer.
Police Minister Mark Ryan made the final recommendation to Cabinet for approval yesterday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Ms Carroll was the most outstanding candidate.
"She has come through the ranks. She has worked long and hard during G20. She has stood by Queensland through Cyclone Marcia, Cyclone Debbie …" she said.
"She is a woman of outstanding integrity, of outstanding strength.
"This sends a very strong message that young girls and women can do anything in this state."
Outgoing Commissioner Ian Stewart said described Ms Carroll's appointment as an excellent choice.
"I know that the QPS will serve with her with honour," he said.