Next top cop could be a woman
AN INTERNATIONAL hunt is on for the state's next top cop, and it could result in Queensland's first female police commissioner.
After more than six years at the helm, Commissioner Ian Stewart yesterday announced his exit effective from July 7.
A police officer for nearly 46 years, Mr Stewart said it was time to retire.
"This is just the right time for me and my family," he said.
"And I hope for the community as well. It was a difficult decision but I also believe that we're in good hands."
Expected candidates are Queensland's Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett and current deputies Bob Gee and Steve Gollschewski.
Mr Stewart's departure also paves the way for a possible female commissioner.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll has signalled her desire to make history.
"With Commissioner Stewart's announcement only happening today, I obviously have a lot to consider including having a discussion with my family," she said yesterday.
Current Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford is also a contender, as are former deputy commissioners Peter Martin, now Corrective Services Commissioner, and the recently retired Brett Pointing.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Stewart had guided the state though natural disasters, the G20 and last year's Commonwealth Games.
Asked what his legacy would be Mr Stewart said: "I think it's preparing the organisation for what's to come.
"Not only in terms of the people, the leadership, the greater diversity in the organisation."
The decorated officer, who started on the beat in 1973, said he was disturbed by the increase in crime rates, homegrown terror and called for a rethink on youth justice.
Appointed in 2012, Mr Stewart had his contract extended in 2017 for three years, despite internal criticism about his leadership and morale in the police service.
But with a state election slated for 2020 he said it was proper to have his replacement "bedded in" by then.
Queensland Police Union Ian Leavers said he didn't always agree with Mr Stewart but wished him and his family "all the best in his retirement".