News

Officer 'turned a blind eye' to bite

A BRISBANE police officer was a bit "hot under the collar" when he turned a blind eye to his police dog biting someone during a foot chase.

The move cost him a spot in the Queensland Police Service dog squad and earned him 100 hours of community service in 2010.

Constable Mitchell Watson appealed the decision in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, but it was upheld in a ruling published this week.

Dog squad officer Cst Watson and his dog Blitz went to a warehouse in West End and confronted two employees during a hunt for three offenders linked to a break and enter.

Cst Watson told the men to "stand still", but one of them had ear plugs in and was bitten on the leg.

The officer then chose to ignore the victim's claim he had been bitten and "fairly quickly" left the scene to continue the pursuit, QCAT found.

Cst Watson was found to have acted improperly when he failed to report the incident and follow police dog handling guidelines, including offering aid to a bite victim.

QCAT presiding member James Thomas stated Cst Watson only filed an incident report after he learned the victim had filed a complaint against him.

"I was of the genuine belief that Blitz's contact was non-forceful and at the worst, a canine stuck in a thread of the workman's jacket," Ct Watson wrote in his report.

Cst Watson showed a "protective attitude towards his dog, an unwillingness to face up to the procedure and paper work ... and the fair chance that if the complaint was ignored it would go away", Mr Thomas found.

Cst Watson was also found guilty of speeding in a police car and speaking disrespectfully to members of the public.

Mr Thomas upheld the orders that Cst Watson be dismissed from the police service for a suspended term of two years from August 26, 2010, and the recommendation he not be allowed to return to the dog squad.

He was also ordered to complete police driving and integrity courses and 100 hours community service at a PCYC.

Topics:  court, dog squad, police




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