Police name badges to become optional

November 7, 2013 – 9:28AM

Marissa Calligeros

brisbanetimes.com.au reporter

Queensland police will no longer be required to wear name badges due to concerns for their safety amid the crackdown on outlaw bikie gangs.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart made name badges optional for all sworn officers from the rank of Constable to Senior Sergeant on October 5 this year, it has been revealed.

Instead, officers can apply to wear a badge displaying their rank and registered officer number only.

Standard badges include an officer’s rank and full name.


All watchhouse officers and commissioned officers can also apply to have badges displaying only their rank and registration number.

‘‘The policy was made following a number of considerations including officer safety,’’ police said in a statement.

The move means the public will not be able to easily identify police officers by name, which civil libertarians have argued is a return to the ‘‘bad old days’’.

Queensland Council of Civil Liberties spokesman Michael Cope warned the move could create scenes similar to those in Toronto and London, where officers without name badges were accused of using excessive force while clashing with G20 Summit protesters.

He said Toronto and London police had been accused of removing or hiding their name badges to avoid complaints being made against them.

‘‘Large numbers of police were disciplined on the basis that they had removed or hidden their name badges in Toronto,’’ Mr Cope said.

But Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the public could be confident in the ‘‘honesty, integrity and professionalism’’ of officers.

He said he recommended name badges be made optional after he was contacted by Premier Campbell Newman about the bikie crackdown.

‘‘A couple of days later I was advised my idea had been agreed to and that it would be implemented immediately,’’ Mr Leavers said.

Mr Cope said police name badges were introduced as a ‘‘fundamental accountability measure’’ after the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption in Queensland.

‘‘It’s going back to the bad old days,’’ he said, referring to the widespread police corruption that occurred under the Joh Bjelke Petersen-led state government in the 1970s and 80s.

‘‘People don’t remember numbers, they remember names.

‘‘If police are so concerned about their safety they should have silent phone numbers.’’

The Brisbane Times

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