Police chief admits ‘failings’ over quarantine escape

POLICE have ramped up security at the Athena Motel Apartments after Aaron Sydney Green fled the venue just nine days into his mandatory COVID-19 quarantine.

Despite police having command of the motel's security, Queensland Police Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll said Green's escape went unnoticed for more than 18 hours.

"We have a situation where someone was not found missing until a day later," she said.

Green left the motel about 4pm on Monday.

"Police identified that he was missing on (Tuesday morning) at 11am at which point the police involved in the matter were conducting an investigation as to where he was," Commissioner Carroll said.

Green surrendered to police on Wednesday.

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The matter has brought the policing arrangements at the quarantine hotels into focus, and Commissioner Carroll ordered a statewide review to identify how the system had failed.

While police are required to check on each person in quarantine, Commissioner Carroll said she was unaware of the arrangements at the Athena.

"Obviously there must have been some failing because if we had a very robust system with a good framework and governance this would not have occurred," she said.

"I have concerns about the systems in this particular hotel."

Commissioner Carroll said she was only made aware that Green was missing early on Wednesday, about the same time the news was made public.

Toowoomba Police had focused on contacting the family to coax Green into returning to quarantine, which ultimately worked.

Athena Motel Apartments are under increase guard after a man escaped his COVID-19 mandatory quarantine on Monday. Photo: Nev Madsen.
Athena Motel Apartments are under increase guard after a man escaped his COVID-19 mandatory quarantine on Monday. Photo: Nev Madsen.

"However, I have an expectation … that if anyone absconds from a hotel that we are immediately notified, so that would definitely be rectified,' she said.

"I believe the system should be better."

She backed her officers and said the quarantine systems were reviewed "every couple of weeks" to ensure the best practice.

"Currently across Queensland we have some 2875 people in quarantine," she said.

"But I am concerned about this one incident because even one can point the community at risk."