Premier Campbell Newman introduced the Public Service Amendment bill on Tuesday, announcing it was designed to protect "public service employees, police officers and other persons in particular circumstances relating to engaging in conduct in an official capacity" from civil action.
Mr Newman said he was following through on an election promise to review the laws.
"Police perform a critical role in ensuring safe communities in Queensland," he said.
"In the often highly complex situations they respond to, and despite performing their roles professionally and in good faith, the nature of their business means there are occasional incidents that cause injury to people or damage to property."
The legislation amendments are designed to protect state employees who are working in an official capacity from civil liability.
Instead, that liability will be transferred to the state. But the legislation does include a clause which allows the government to recoup costs from state employees who "have engaged in conduct other than in good faith, and with gross negligence".
The Queensland Police Union had been calling for the change for several years, after a Brisbane constable was found guilty of an assault of a 65-year-old homeless man in 2006.
Bruce Rowe brought a private prosecution against Constable Benjamin Arndt following his own arrest. Mr Arndt was found guilty in 2011 and fined $1000 and ordered to pay court costs.
At the time, the police union decried the situation as an attack on how police did their job and demanded the law be changed.
On Tuesday, QPU president Ian Leavers called the legislation "a great start for police to achieve criminal and civil protections for police acting in good faith without gross negligence".
"...We are very pleased with the introduction of the bill as it now gives police greater peace of mind as they go about their job protecting Queensland," he said.
The bill has been referred to a parliamentary committee for review and is expected to be passed early next year.
brisbanetimes.com.au 20 Nov 2013
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