Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Sat 26 Nov 2016



The Northern Territory news Sat 26 Nov 2016

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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News Corp Australia



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SATURDAY NOVEMBER 26 2016 NEWS 07 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA to have been linked to an alleged police housing rort associated with former Deputy Police Commissioner now Corrections Commissioner Mark Payne. Sources have revealed the woman, who fought her dismissal, was ultimately given a payout of around $250,000 after leaving the force because the cost for police to fight the case through the courts would have been too exorbitant for taxpayers. In the days after the worker was issued the letter, a group of mainly female police officers met privately and it is understood they discussed the rape claim and others against the senior officer, as well as Mr Kershaws perceived support for the senior officer. Mr Kershaw has spoken widely of cleaning up the NT Police force following the trail of scandal left in the wake of Mr McRoberts. He has also been outspoken about the need to end violence against women in the NT and last month called for an independent review into numerous counts of bullying and harassment reported by police staff. Earlier this year, he made a commitment to recruit a 50/50 split of men and women in recruitment intakes from May. A senior sergeant, who asked not to be named, said the divide between the front line and NT Police management had become wider. There is a feeling of disconnect between the cops on the front line and senior management, the officer said. The infighting among the top brass is understood to have shaken morale in frontline officers while the force is still rebuilding Police at war over rape investigation Our cops balanced on a thin blue line IN early 2015 both the CLP Government and the NT Police were plunged into parallel crises. Cabinet was divided into factions that were aligned to senior police officers. John Elferink, Peter Styles and Willem Westra van Holthe were each former cops, and each brought with them alliances and enemies from their time on the force. Adam Giles became paranoid about his phone and thought it was bugged. He claimed publicly that senior members of the police were running a coup against him. Those suspicions were fuelled by Elferinks close relationship to Mark Payne, who had authorised the arrest of corrupt travel agent Xana Kamitsis. That event ultimately led to the sacking of John McRoberts. McRoberts denies charges he attempted to pervert the course of justice. Reece Kershaw was at the time the least high-profile of three rotating deputy commissioners. Now commissioner, part of his appeal was his apparent disconnect from the rampant factionalism, from the cadre of former cops in the ministry, and from McRoberts. Any stability would last just a few months. In November 2015, a series of events would mobil vestigated over alleged links to Kamitsis and ultimately cleared of wrongdoing. Still, Bryson had to return to work as a superintendent, having lost his previous rank. The argument in that case was that the force needed to present its cleanest possible face in the wake of the McRoberts-Kamitsis charges. And while Bryson had not done anything wrong, he was a walking reminder of it. That same ruthless logic has not been applied to the senior police officer subject of this rape allegation. The matter deserves a full investigation. But the officer is also entitled to the presumption of innocence. Kershaw is wedged. He has launched an investigation into whether certain officers were aware of the allegation 12 years ago. High-ranking police have a statutory obligation to report such allegations when they become aware. Questions remain about who knew, and when they knew. Kershaws critics say his investigation is a witch hunt, that his priority should be looking into the actual allegation and not laying blame. The future of the NT Police and Kershaws authority among its officers is balanced on a very thin blue line. None of the officers named here are the subject of the rape allegation. ise those factions once again. Kershaw launched an internal inquiry into Payne, who had been made Deputy Commissioner, for the possible misuse of Police Housing funds. Payne was found to have made an error of judgement. Another police employee was given her notice. It made for a shaky relationship between the new Commissioner and his number two. In early November, Elferink offered Payne a lifeline. Ken Middlebrook had been forced to resign as Corrections Commissioner. He asked Payne to take over. On November 6, a group of police officers, including the woman sacked after the Payne housing investigation, went to a colleagues home and held a private meeting. They discussed the rape allegation against a senior serving police officer. A year later, as Kershaw prepares to announce two new deputy commissioners and amid all the associated career jockeying, things have reached boiling point. The entire process has left Kershaw fighting to protect his reputation. He is the commissioner who has talked tough about ridding the force of a bullying culture, about championing female police officers. Kershaw effectively demoted Richard Bryson, an assistant commissioner who was in ANALYSIS BEN SMEE From left to right: Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw, former Deputy Commissioner Mark Payne, former Attorney-General John Elferink and former Police Commissioner John McRoberts. Inset left: Mr Kershaw addresses the media following the McRoberts sacking and (above) how the NT News reported the story at the time Its never been easier to engage with Power and Water. 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