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Police 'stole $20 from dead man's wallet'

A GROUP of Queensland police officers is being investigated over the alleged theft of $20 from a crash victim's wallet.

Ethical Standards Command has been investigating at least four Sunshine Coast officers over the missing money for almost a year.

The ugly incident is among about 200 matters being examined by Ethical Standards - some of which have dragged on for years.

Officers responsible for receiving the property belonging to a man killed in a road accident last year noted he had four $20 notes in his wallet.

By the time the wallet was returned to the station, one of the $20 notes had disappeared.

The alleged theft was noted by senior staff at the station the next morning when the victim's belongings were being prepared for collection.

It is understood one officer offered to replace the $20 with his own money but was told it would have to be reported to Ethical Standards.
ESC investigators arrived at the station that afternoon - but almost a year later no one has been charged or disciplined over the missing cash.

The ESC is already under fire over the time it takes to complete investigations. Officers complain they are left in limbo while cases are allowed to drag on for months.

Three of the officers under investigation over the alleged theft continue to work at the station.

An officer who spoke to The Courier-Mail said a $20 note folded in exactly the same way as the others in the man's wallet was found in the station's social club tin.

He said the club's organiser had recently emailed staff reminding them of money owed to the club and asking them to pay up.

"We all know who it is but he won't own up and we can't prove it," the officer said.

"That's what eats at me. I have to work with this man."

The victim's mother said she was sorry to hear about the alleged theft but urged the police service to "forget about it and move on".

"Police are very underpaid. This officer probably has a few kids and was facing a lot of bills," she said.

"It is a bit sad but there are many more important things."

Last year 2760 complaints were lodged about the conduct of Queensland's 10,200 police, up from 2267 the previous year and 2104 in 2008.

Almost 30 police are now suspended or have been stood down while being investigated.

The QPS said Ethical Standard investigators involved in the wallet case were unavailable to answer questions.


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Added: May-13-2010 
By: biggles9
In:
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Tags: queensland police, corruption, task force argos
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