Commissioner Katarina Carroll was being grilled at the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Services Responses to Domestic and Family Violence.
She admitted she was not aware Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd told the inquiry earlier this month that a plan to better resource police regions to respond to domestic violence incidents had been placed on hold indefinitely.
“I was not aware of that,” the commissioner told the inquiry.
“I knew that it had to be done, I did not know at this stage that it was paused.”
Carroll agreed with Judge Deborah Richards’ suggestion that she had the power to order the restart of the process.
“And will you?” Justice Richards asked.
“Definitely,” the commissioner replied.
The inquiry also heard a specialist domestic violence unit set up in March 2021 had the fewest resources of any of Queensland’s policing units and only 27 staff.
Council Assisting Ruth O’Gorman asked what message that sent when there were 38 staff in the police media and public relations unit.
“If you just explain it like that, it is not a good look for the public to see that, that’s correct,” Carroll said.
O’Gorman revealed all commands have been allocated “significantly” more resources than the specialist domestic violence unit.
She asked the commissioner what message that sent to Queensland Police Service (QPS) members and the public about how seriously the force was taking the issue.
“If they saw that they would probably think we could do better,” the commissioner said.
Only four staff were initially transferred to the new domestic violence command in March 2021, but at the time the commissioner said the unit would have “increased capability, effective immediately”.
She insisted her plan had always been for the model, which was unique in Australia, to evolve over time.
“It wasn’t the intention to mislead anyone,” Carroll said.
“That’s exactly what I intended … an evolution that would be a capability that would take what we do within the organisation to the next level.”
QPS has not sought extra funding for the domestic violence unit since it was set up, but the commissioner said she was prepared to do so if asked.
“But I was very clear with the assistant commissioner to come to me with whatever additional resources that were required,” she said.
O’Gorman put to the commissioner it was her responsibility to ensure the command had adequate funding and staff.
“The numbers did increase over time,” the commissioner said.
The hearing continues.