THE Queensland Police Union is standing by the officers who forced a teenager to deflate his bike's tyres and walk several kilometres home as punishment for not wearing a helmet.
Union president Ian Leavers labelled the issue “flat tyre-gate” yesterday and launched a scathing attack on Assistant Police Commissioner Ross Barnett, who said the situation involving Josh Maday, of Sippy Downs, could have been handled differently.
But civil liberties crusader Terry O'Gorman vowed to refer the case to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, while Premier Anna Bligh also weighed in.
“Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett knows the laws and he should have defended police today, rather than pandering to those who would rather denigrate the fine job 99.9% of police do,” Mr Leavers said.
“The police acted entirely appropriately in the circumstances.
“I commend police on the fine job they did in dealing with this matter in a sensible manner.
“The police were completely aware of the time, place and circumstance of this incident and all members of the community should applaud and support the way this matter was handled by police.”
Josh's mother Anne Dyer was left seething after her 15-year-old son was pulled over by two police officers about 3pm on Saturday.
Instead of issuing him a warning or fine, they forced him to deflate his tyres and push his bike about 3km home near bushland on Claymore Road
Mr Barnett said the officers could have considered giving Josh a lift home as they stopped by his house afterwards anyway.
But Mr Leavers slammed that comment, saying there was “absolutely no legislative way” that could have occurred.
“Unfortunately, while ill-informed people may say police could have given the 15-year-old a lift home, there is absolutely no legislative way this could have happened, stopping short of arresting the 15-year-old,” he said.
“Police cannot detain a person for the purposes of driving them somewhere just because they are not wearing a bicycle helmet.”
Premier Anna Bligh, who has a teenage son, said she was “appalled” to hear the Daily's story, which was picked up by news outlets across the nation.
She said it was the wrong thing to do to leave a child so far from home with no way of getting home.
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties vice president Terry O'Gorman vowed to lodge the matter with the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
Mr O'Gorman said the officers involved could be prosecuted for causing “wilful damage” by making the boy deflate his tyres.
“We are going to refer this as a public interest complaint to the CMC,” he told the Daily.
The police officer's actions were backed by 62% of about 350 people who voted in an online survey on the Daily's website yesterday, while 37% said police went too far.
Mr O'Gorman also took a shot at police after they issued a statement to the Daily saying the officers could have handled the situation better in “retrospect”.
“They're only interested in covering it up rather than investigating the police and if evidence justifies it, charging them,” he said.
“Why the police hierarchy on the Sunshine Coast aren't investigating this as a potential criminal offence rather than trying to sweep it under the mat is another issue.”
Sunshine Coast police acting superintendent Dave Drinnen did not return the Daily's calls.
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