Freak incident that ended cop’s career

A Queensland cop could sue for up to $1 million after a bizarre incident at his police station that ended his long-running career.

Bribie Island Senior Sergeant David Crawford-Raby and a female office worker allegedly were exposed to gas in April 2017 in a freak incident, which sources say has been kept "very quiet" for legal reasons.

The Courier-Mail has been told a faulty air purifier in the station's property room was spewing a "fog'' of toxic vapour.

The device was tested and found to be unsuitable for such a small space, where it is believed to have emitted a high concentration of ozone.

The woman has only recently returned to work while Senior Sergent Crawford-Raby has come back for short periods, before taking extended leave.

Colleagues do not expect him to resume his duties.

One said Sen-Sgt Crawford-Raby was "in a very bad way" and "this looks like it will end his career''.

Legal experts say Sen-Sgt Crawford-Raby could be entitled to compensation ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.

The incident was attended by firefighters and investigated by police and Department of Housing and Public Works, which engaged the contractor who installed the system.

Sen-Sgt Crawford-Raby declined to comment, but the Queensland Police Union confirmed it was involved.


Senior-Sergeant David Crawford-Raby outside Bribie Island police station
Senior-Sergeant David Crawford-Raby outside Bribie Island police station


"We are assisting Sen-Sgt Crawford-Raby both directly and through the provision of legal advice for compensation claims," a spokesman said.

Sen-Sgt Crawford-Raby is a prominent figure in the area, having been policing at Bribie Island since April 2005.

Colleagues regard him as extremely genuine and committed to his community.

A police spokeswoman said the department was aware of the incident. She said the faulty equipment had been replaced and procedures put in place to minimise the risk of a similar incident occurring.

"The safety and welfare of all QPS staff is paramount and as such the incident has been thoroughly investigated by the appropriate external agencies as well as the QPS," she said.

A Department of Housing and Public Works spokesman said Building and Asset Services, formerly QBuild, had responded with a review of the incident.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors were not notified at the time, but looked into it 14 months later.

"After it happened, staff from the Department of Housing and Public Works investigated the cause and engaged hygienists for expert advice to ensure health risks were managed," a spokeswoman said.

"The inspector was satisfied with this response and no enforcement action was taken."