Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bugging report too dangerous to release

The report of an official enquiry should be well considered so there can only be one thing the cops are afraid of:  The truth

THE secret police report into the widespread phone-tapping and bugging of over 110 serving and former officers was too "dangerous" to be released, the Inspector of the Police Integrity Commission, David Levine, said yesterday.

The reputations of the NSW Police Force and individual officers could be trashed if the report and recommendations by strike force Emblems were made public, the former Supreme Court judge said.

Mr Levine said while he could understand the concerns of the 114 people named in just one of the warrants investigated by strike force Emblems, the final decision to release the report should lie with NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour.

Police Minister Michael Gallacher denied this was another attempt to bury the report which he had pledged to release when he got into government.

Police Association president Scott Weber said those police officers affected felt the matter was "not being taken seriously" and rejected criticism of the Emblems investigators.

"Many of (the officers) were senior and respected police officers," Mr Weber said.

"They did their absolute best despite zero co-operation from the NSW Crime Commission and limited access to information. They were even subjected to threats of being prosecuted under the draconian secrecy provisions."

Strike force Emblems was set up in 2003 after a number of officers, including one of the now-deputy commissioners Nick Kaldas, made complaints about being bugged by the police's Special Crime and Internal Affairs unit working with the Crime Commission and the PIC in what was called Operation Mascot. The operation's leader was Superintendent Catherine Burn, another current deputy commissioner.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

NSW Crime Commission broke the law

This has long been alleged

The police watchdog has found misconduct and illegal practices within the New South Wales Crime Commission.  The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has found the Crime Commission has grossly misapplied the law for more than a decade.

The PIC says the crime fighting body illegally funded about 15 per cent of its budget using cash seized from suspected criminals.

The report says grossly-excessive sums of money were handed back to defendants for their legal fees.

The solicitor girlfriend of a former senior officer received more than $300,000 for four cases alone.

The PIC has recommended the former officer Lou Novakovic be charged with misconduct for favours to his girlfriend, Salina Sadiq, and for giving false or misleading evidence.

The Crime Commission's former commissioner and directors have escaped adverse findings, with the report concluding they were ignorant of the law.

The New South Wales Crime Commission was set up in 1985 to investigate major drug trafficking and organised crime.

The PIC has conducted a four-year investigation into the organisation, after a series of scandals.

In 2011, former assistant director, Mark Standen, was jailed for 22 years on drug importation charges.

A separate special commission of inquiry found no ongoing corruption within the body but problems with its accountability.

In September, veteran barrister Peter Hastings QC was announced as the new Crime Commissioner.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Police riot in Sydney

A BABY left in a car while his mother ran into a south-west Sydney shop led to claims of "a riot", with one officer pulling a Taser and numerous shoppers surrounded by police cars and affected by capsicum spray.

Scores of Campsie and Bankstown police were called to Punchbowl's The Boulevard where they arrested two 20-year-old men after police clashed with shoppers on Friday afternoon.

The mother of the baby, who wants to remain anonymous, told Fairfax Media she has apologised to police for briefly leaving her sleeping one-year-old unsupervised in her car with windows wound down.

The violence was sparked by her cousin and brother clashing with police over the "10-minute indiscretion", she said.

"The first two officers were fine; it was another officer who was yelling at my brother and got into a big argument," she said.  "The police officer pushed him to the ground and made an arrest."

Acting Campsie Commander Paul Albury said there was no riot and police acted professionally when coming under attack and abuse from 50 people.

"The behaviour of the main individual towards police was disgusting and inflammatory," he said.  "An investigation is under way to identify and arrest a man who allegedly punched a male officer in the face," he said.

Community advocate for south-west Sydney, Rebecca Kay, has taken statements from eight people who saw the "riot" that was witnessed by up to 100 people.  Those who were sprayed will make an official complaint, she said.

Ms Kay said about 10 squad cars arrived on the scene and further escalated the trouble.

"One officer pulled out his Taser," she said. "The street was closed off, there were many people sprayed with capsicum spray, mums, kids, men and women, innocent bystanders. Police sprayed everyone," she said.

"The police were saying inappropriate things, racist and anti-Islamic comments. There needs [to be] respect, this behaviour harms relations between police and the community that we are trying to build."

Ms Kay said a community meeting is being held in Punchbowl on Wednesday.