Evidence from Remfrey and Membreno in REPORT HERE:
NSW Police should have dealt with a bullying commander years before he chose to leave and much of the damage caused by his behaviour was avoidable, a watchdog has found.
The NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission published the findings on Tuesday, in a follow-up to a May report which revealed the commander’s bullying behaviour.
The commander, known only as “BKJ”, engaged in serious misconduct including bullying, behaving aggressively, and demanding a senior constable provide evidence of his childhood sexual assault before granting him leave to attend a residential treatment program. The constable did not return to work.
The senior constable was one of 15 people to leave the local area command between 2014 and 2019, some on medical leave, while BKJ was the commander.
BKJ’s behaviour not only forced experienced officers out of the force, but had great financial and reputational costs to NSW Police, the commission found in its new report.
It also looks at whether there are systemic failures with how NSW Police deals with complaints of bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Police should have identified his conduct by at least late 2016 but it was allowed to continue into 2019, the report says.
NSW Police did not have good enough processes to identify complaint clusters at the time.
If the commission had not investigated a complaint, it is likely BKJ would still be in charge of the command, the report says.
Former Secretary of the Police Association of NSW Peter Remfrey told the investigation that over the years he had seen bullying commanders promoted rather than being appropriately dealt with.
Mr Remfrey also said he had seen situations that should have been a red flag, such as high sick leave levels and transfer numbers, where no action was taken.
The commission found his evidence suggested that NSW Police was not always following its own policies and guidelines about workplace behaviour.
NSW Police has shared a new model for its response to misconduct related to workplace behaviours with the commission.
The watchdog is “encouraged” by the response, which will go a long way towards addressing the issues in the report, the commission says.
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