EXPOSED: SAPOL Police Union Candidate Wade Burns Previously Demoted for Sexual Assault


SAPOL is sleazier than a 1970s porn movie.

The latest SAPOL member to be caught up in the filthy force’s never-ending string of sexual predation controversies is Wade Burns, pictured above.

Burns is the 45-year-old son of former police commissioner Gary Burns, who retired from the force in 2015.

Wade Burns with his father Gary (right).

Burns is also the current deputy president of the Police Association of South Australia (PASA), a role he has held since 2022.

Until recently, he was also considered frontrunner for the impending presidential election of the powerful police union.

Independent MP Frank Pangallo recently aired claims under parliamentary privilege that Burns allegedly assaulted a female colleague at a social function in 2017.

The only disciplinary action taken by SAPOL for the alleged assault was to demote Burns from chief inspector to senior sergeant in mid-2017 – a drop of two positions.

Pangallo told parliament the incident was the reason for Burns’ demotion.

“No explanation was given either by SAPOL or Mr Burns for such a major reversion of rank, nor for that matter have I ever heard of any person in a powerful position requesting a significant demotion,” Pangallo said.

He told parliament Burns was not criminally charged, and described the incident, which The Advertiser was previously unable to report under the state’s police secrecy laws, as the force’s “worst-kept secret”.

Under the state’s anti-transparency police secrecy laws, details of conduct investigations into service officers must remain confidential unless their release is authorised by the police commissioner or ICAC.

Pangallo, a former Today Tonight journalist, told parliament the incident occurred while Burns was “ironically” part of Project Equitas.

This project was launched by Police Commissioner Grant Stevens in an effort to be seen to be doing something about the shocking levels of sexual harassment and discrimination within the force.

A 2016 Equal Opportunity Commission report found sexual harassment and assault were commonplace at the notoriously sleazy SAPOL, a haven for misogynistic “boys club” wankers and aggressive lesbians.

The EOC found the reported incidence of predatory behaviour (i.e. the misuse of authority or influence to exploit others for sexual or other personal gratification) in SAPOL was 21 per cent higher than the general population figure (49 per cent vs 28 per cent).

In other words, if you get a job at SAPOL – the hopelessly corrupt clown show entrusted to uphold law and order in South Australia – you will be almost twice as likely to experience sexual predation than in the average workplace.

Burns Claims He Wants Transparency – Pangallo Gives it to Him

“In one of his election posts to PASA members Burns says: ‘We all know that one of the greatest demands on the leaders of today is transparency. I have always believed in openness, and I will certainly apply it to the presidency’,” Pangallo said.

“In the interests of the openness and transparency Mr Burns demands, and for PASA’s membership currently deciding who will get their vote, I will summarise the worst-kept secret in SAPOL.”

“In 2017, in a positive initiative driven by the police commissioner, Grant Stevens, Mr Burns, then a chief inspector, was appointed to head Project Equitas, a program designed to combat sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in SA Police, following the disturbing findings of a review by the equal opportunity commissioner.”

“His team included serving male and female police officers and civilian female staff.”

“Following the completion of the project, multiple complaints were lodged with SAPOL’s internal affairs against Mr Burns for egregious behaviour at a social function in a public place for invited Project Equitas and SAPOL members.”

Independent MP Frank Pangallo detailed allegations against Mr Burns in parliament. Picture NCA NewsWire/Emma Brasier
Independent MP Frank Pangallo detailed the allegations against Wade Burns in parliament.
Pangallo told parliament the allegations leveled against Burns included “predatory behaviour” and the alleged indecent assault of a female employee, which was witnessed by several people in attendance at the function.

“It is my understanding that there was a list of agreed facts during the investigation and the demotion to senior sergeant came after Mr Burns pleaded guilty to the agreed facts,” Pangallo said.

“Some time later, Mr Burns appealed his demotion where the police commissioner’s objections on integrity grounds were overruled and he was ordered to promote Mr Burns to the rank of inspector.”

“Mr Burns recently sought a further promotion back to chief inspector. However, this was again rejected on integrity grounds, a decision I understand supported by Commissioner Stevens.”

Pangallo questioned Police Minister Dan Cregan as to why Burns was not criminally charged for his conduct or referred to the independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

He also asked whether the minister would request the police commissioner to authorise release of the full report into the investigation and adverse findings made against Burns.

Pangallo aired further details in parliament the following day, urging the full investigation into the serving officer to be made public.

He claimed Burns’ alleged offending “included a degree of force”.

Burns Responds

In a message circulated to union members on Wednesday, 19 June 2024, Burns declared his campaign would continue and claimed “what was said – under parliamentary privilege – was factually incorrect”.

Burns accused Pangallo of using Parliamentary privilege to derail his union election campaign, but provided no reason as to why Pangallo would wish to selectively target him.

Burns also failed to explain why, if the allegations were false, several witnesses came forward to complain about the alleged assault.

Burns also failed to offer any proof that Pangallo did not air the revelations in the public interest and to create a more transparent police union election. If a senior cop who has been accused by numerous witnesses of a forceful sexual assault has not been properly disciplined and is now jockeying to head a powerful police union, both the public and voting union members deserve to know.

Burns’ credibility was further undermined when he told members in his June 19 memo that his misconduct “was not, nor was it ever, a criminal matter”

In a statement released last Friday, Stevens revealed SAPOL’s Internal Investigation Section did commence a criminal investigation after allegations were received.

Burns’ Resume

At his website,, the alleged sexual harasser insists he is a wonderful human being.

“No candidate is as infinitely qualified as Wade for the role of Police Association president,” he writes in the third person.

His previous roles with SAPOL include time spent within the jack-booted STAR Force, the dubious Drug Squad, and Sturt Traffic Enforcement Section (the unethical, revenue-raising predators who sit at the bottom of the disgraceful SE Freeway pointing their notoriously inaccurate laser guns at motorists tackling the steep descent, instead of arresting the homicidal scum who thought it would be a great idea to build Australia’s longest downhill freeway run and end it at a busy intersection. In Europe, they build tunnels – in South Australia, they build death traps and then cynically use them to raise revenue).

Burns fancies himself as a business expert, boasting that he “received the Australian Institute of Management prize for the highest subject mark internationally (98 per cent) for business management.”

However, Burns’ only listed business experience outside of state-enforced revenue-raising is a five-year stint as “Founder & Co-Owner” of TITAN Performance Group Pty Ltd, which went into liquidation in 2021. Before folding, TITAN sold triathlon apparel and equipment (according to his website, Burns “is an endurance sports enthusiast” who has competed in IRONMAN events).

Burns posing with unnamed companion.


Alleged reason for PASA Deputy President Wade Burns’ demotion read in parliament. The Advertiser.

Explained: Bombshell claims in parliament against Police Association candidate Wade Burns. The Advertiser.

Call for senior cop to explain ‘factually incorrect’ bombshell. The Advertiser.

About Me” –

Titan Performance Group Pty Ltd | Appointment as Liquidator

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