Drink-driver cop faces demotion and docked pay.

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Drink-driver cop faces demotion and docked pay.

Postby Malakai » July 20th, 2009, 10:28 am

A DRUNK policeman has been stung for driving yesterday morning while nearly five times over the legal limit.

The off-duty Sunshine Coast constable registered a blood-alcohol reading of 0.235 when he was pulled over by colleagues on the Sunshine Motorway about 1.15am at Marcoola, south of Noosa.

The officer, whose name has not been released, is the first police officer to face harsher penalties under Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson's directive which started on July 1.

If he did not already hold the lowest rank in the force, he would be facing a demotion.

According to the new sliding scale of penalties, an off-duty cop caught in a private vehicle with a reading above 0.15 can be demoted.

Those caught while on-duty, even with low-level readings, can be sacked.

"What we've done is say, 'This is so serious, we have got to move from the penalties we were applying to far more severe penalties'," Mr Atkinson said last month.

The Courier-Mail understands the offender is now likely to have his salary slashed, be stood down from operational duties and receive a career-stifling formal reprimand.

In an embarrassment to the Queensland Police Service, he is the eighth officer to be charged this year for a drink-driving related offence.

Of the 58 police charged with drink driving since 2001, none have been sacked.

Police appeared to close ranks yesterday, with Maroochydore Police Station where the constable works and the upper echelons of the police force refusing to comment any further on the matter.

An earlier media statement said the constable had three years' experience, would be immediately stood down from operational duties and face Maroochydore Magistrates Court in two weeks.

The statement confirmed the vehicle was not a police car, but was privately owned.

The harsher dismissal penalties now in play for police who break the very laws they are paid to enforce are expected to be legally challenged by the Queensland Police Union when the first case arises.

QPU president Ian Leavers did not respond to calls last night in relation to a potential union protest should the Maroochydore constable's pay be docked.

URL: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25805176-3102,00.html

A QUEENSLAND police officer has become the eighth officer charged with drink-driving this year and the first to face new disciplinary measures.

He is the eighth police officer caught drink-driving this year, but the first to be charged since police commissioner Bob Atkinson introduced a new regime of discipline for officers caught driving under the influence, including possible dismissal.

The off-duty policeman with about three years service was charged with drink driving in his private vehicle on Sunday morning.

The constable from Maroochydore Police Station was arrested on the Sunshine Coast Motorway at Marcoola about 1.15am.

He will appear in the Maroochydore Magistrate's Court on August 3.

The officer is to be served with paperwork on Sunday standing him down from operational duties, the Queensland Police service said in a statement.

On June 24 Mr Atkinson announced a crackdown on officers caught driving under the influence would begin from July 1.

He said officers who drink and drive will face a pay cut and possibly dismissal if the circumstances of the offence are considered serious enough.

At the time the police union threatened legal action if the tough new penalties are considered too severe.

URL: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25804558-3102,00.html
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