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Inquiry finds AFP officer handed out sensitive data

Date

Christopher Knaus, Phillip Thompson

Australian Federal Police.

Australian Federal Police. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

An Australian Federal Police agent found to have links to organised crime is facing the sack after a covert investigation by anti-corruption authorities.

The corruption watchdog is due to release a report on Friday that finds an AFP agent wrongly accessed and handed out sensitive police information.

It also finds he wrote character references under AFP letterhead, including for "acquaintances" facing criminal charges.

The officer was tracked using wire taps and physical surveillance, while investigators raided his home and work, and trawled through his emails and electronic documents. The agent began working with the force in 2002, but the accusations stem from his role as a community liaison officer in 2008 and 2009.

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) was called in to investigate and found he allegedly had handed out sensitive police information to help associates locate a relative and a former school classmate obtain information about a car accident and progress immigration matters.

It also says he wrongly handed out official AFP character references to a range of acquaintances, including one charged with obstructing police and another charged with driving while his licence was suspended. He also allegedly gave references in relation to a domestic violence matter and in a private security licence application.

It is reported he deceived other officers and colleagues to help secure sensitive information. The agent used his position in the AFP to obtain information from other federal agencies and state police forces.

ACLEI also discovered he had undeclared links to serious and organised crime. But the investigation was unable to find any evidence that he had "materially or directly assisted any criminal enterprise".

The AFP first reported the agent to the corruption watchdog in 2009. He was suspended from duty in early 2010, after Integrity Commissioner Philip Moss warned the AFP of what the investigation had found.

The ACLEI's report, due to be released at lunchtime on Friday, recommends that he now be sacked. "Taken together, Federal Agent A's conduct demonstrated a consistent willingness to disregard his official duty and misuse the discretionary power entrusted to him in favour of advancing personal standing," Mr Moss wrote. "It is incomprehensible that an AFP appointee of any length of service would not know of the sensitivity of handling law enforcement information," he wrote.

An AFP spokeswoman said the agency was still considering what action it would take.

ACLEI's report noted the officer was seeking to hold the AFP liable. He claimed he was ignorant of AFP policy, had poor training and supervision, and was given "unrealistic and incompatible" expectations.

4 comments

  • This is the same AFP who want to access all our internet, email and phone calls!! A few months ago is was an AFP employee who illegally got info off crimtrac, and recently state police giving information to organised criminal gangs and bikies.

    Commenter
    stoney
    Date and time
    December 14, 2012, 9:22AM
    • Excellent comment, AFP shouldn't have access to anything unless it’s a warrant signed by the judge. This again the proves they can’t be trusted. Stories like these come up several times a year Australia wide.

      Commenter
      Mr60Minutes
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 10:59AM
    • I agree with the above comment. If it becomes necessary to increase the number of judges then so be it, but I think that every time law enforcement focuses its gaze on a private citizen, from examining their browsing history to performing an invasive cavity search, independent judicial oversight and approval should be a requirement. We have seen what happens when actors like Roger Rogerson are allowed to improvise, and I'd really love to hear what the ghost of Colin Winchester has to say on the matter. The cost of having a judiciary that is on standby 24 hours a day is the price we will have to pay to ensure that our freedoms and privacy are not compromised by corrupt individuals entrusted with over-reaching powers. Checks and balances work, trusting individuals or organisations not to abuse power doesn't because bad apples get in.

      Commenter
      jamall
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:09PM
  • So long as there is Prohibition there will be corrupt police...there is simply too much profit in drugs and any drug family that does not put a son or daughter into the force is foolish.
    This is the natural outcome from unjust laws that are un-enforcable and is the cause of much of the corruption in Australia.
    I also note that this guy will not be charged...just sacked.
    Some are clearly more equal than others under the Law.
    And BTW. This is why "big brother" laws do not work...they create honey-pots for abusers, and who watches the watchers?

    Commenter
    Andy
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    December 14, 2012, 12:51PM
    Comments are now closed
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