Wednesday, November 17, 2010

320 criminal offences by NSW police

MORE than 100 police officers have been charged with 320 criminal offences over the past two years, ranging from drug dealing to aggravated sexual assault, drink-driving and unlawfully altering official records, NSW Police data obtained by the Herald show.

The most common charges against 117 officers arrested during the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10 were for assault and drink-driving, the figures show. Assault made up 27 per cent of the main charges. Driving offences, mostly drink-driving, were second with 18 per cent.

The data, obtained by the Herald under the NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, only shows the 117 main charges for each officer and does not include secondary charges.

Over the past month alone, a further six officers have been charged with 17 offences, including one who allegedly deleted official records after allegedly failing to investigate two incidents, including a car crash.

Another officer, Probationary Constable Peter Giallombardo, 31, attached to the south-west metropolitan region, is due to face court tomorrow. He is charged with four offences in relation to a seriously disabled woman including aggravated sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent. Mr Giallombardo has yet to enter a plea. On his social networking page on Netlog, where his nickname is AlfieWog19, Mr Giallombardo says he is "easy going and like [sic] to joke around and have fun". He has been stood down from the force.

Another male officer is due to face court this month charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a woman in Newcastle in March.

Two others were charged over drug offences this month, including a senior constable attached to the central metropolitan region who is facing three counts of supplying a prohibited drug. He was allegedly already suspended from duty and facing court on other criminal matters.

Two weeks ago a former officer, Glen Campbell, was jailed for 17 months and banned from driving for 10 years after recording a blood-alcohol reading almost eight times the legal limit (.395). In November he drove into a shopping centre car park, hit another vehicle and collapsed face-first on to the concrete, still wearing his police overalls. On his way to Gosford Local Court in June he was pulled over again and recorded .253.

Jennifer Louise Edgerton was fined $1000 last month and disqualified from driving for one year after recording four times the legal limit (.203) after crashing her car on the central coast.

There are 25 high-range and 47 mid-range driver offenders serving in the NSW Police Force, the Industrial Relations Commission was told this year during the case of a former long-serving officer, Robert McGhee, who unsuccessfully sought reinstatement after being sacked for drink-driving and other breaches.

Twenty-five police officers were "removed" from the force in 2009-10 and four more resigned as a result of disciplinary procedures, the NSW Ombudsman's 2009-10 annual report says.

The Police Minister, Michael Daley, said the "vast majority" of officers were "honest, loyal and upstanding" men and women. "Unfortunately there have been some instances of officers who have abused their position and broken the law," he said. "No police officer is above the law, and if any officer breaks the law they will face the full consequences of their actions."

Scott Weber, president of the Police Association of NSW, said officers were "human and occasionally make mistakes". He said there was an inflated number of officers prosecuted because the Director of Public Prosecutions was required to hold them to a higher standard than the public.

"With that in mind, the relatively low number of charges laid against the state's 15,500 police officers are a credit to the force." [Not counting the one who get away without being charged, of course]


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