Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll initially rejected the request to testify at a domestic violence investigation

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has confirmed that she initially rejected a request to testify in a state investigation into police culture and domestic violence.

WARNING: This story contains foul language that some readers may find offensive.

Public hearings before the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police (QPS) responses to domestic and family violence were set to conclude on Tuesday. But earlier this week, the investigation confirmed that the commissioner would testify at an additional meeting today.

During the hearing, counsel assisting Ruth O’Gorman asked Commissioner Carroll to confirm that the Commission contacted her on August 4 through her attorneys and asked to testify, but she declined.

“That’s right,” said Commissioner Carroll.

Ms O’Gorman told the hearing that the committee contacted Commissioner Carroll again on Aug. 11, telling her that her presence was “mandatory” and asking if she needed a subpoena.

“I was happy to go,” Commissioner Carroll replied.

The Commission of Inquiry, led by Judge Deborah Richards, examines cultural issues within the QPS, as well as its ability, capacity and structure to respond to domestic and family violence (DFV).

Ms O’Gorman questioned Commissioner Carroll about decisions regarding resources and funding for the DFV and the Vulnerable Persons Command, which was set up in February last year following the murder of Doreen Langham on the Gold Coast.

“Internally and externally it was to really send a statement about its importance [responding to DFV]’ said Commissioner Carroll.

She said she was not seeking additional state funding to bolster the command’s capacity.

“It was funded with existing resources… the budget pressure was pretty extraordinary… last year I went well over what the budget requirement was.”

Commissioner Carroll was asked about staffing levels within the DFV and the Vulnerable Persons Command and admitted they were “inadequate”.

The investigation found that 38 permanent positions were assigned to QPS media and PR, but only 27 positions were assigned to the DFV and the Vulnerable Persons Command.

Ms O’Gorman asked Commissioner Carroll: “Do you think this sends an appropriate signal to the Queensland community about the seriousness with which the organization is pursuing strategic responses to domestic and family violence?”

Commissioner Carroll replied: “It doesn’t look good for the public to see that, that’s right.”

Close-up of the Queensland police logo on the side of the police car
More than 75 witnesses testified at hearings in Brisbane and regional Queensland.(ABC News: Lucas Hill)

Commissioner Carroll said her focus was on increasing resources on the front lines.

“I think the community would know where to respond to domestic violence first, actually with our emergency responders and my priority was to put as many boots — so to speak — on the ground,” she said.

“And when the numbers become available, assign them to other priority areas.

“We Can Do Better” [with resourcing] but it’s an evolution,” she said.

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