Rats in the ranks. Source: DailyTelegraph
THERE are 437 serving police officers with criminal convictions, that is one in every 40 officers.
It is an incredible increase of 230 per cent over the past five years.
Among the ranks is an inspector convicted of assaulting an off-duty officer and drink-driving while other offences include bashing, drink-driving, fraud, illegal use of guns and other driving offences.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the 437 officers have 591 convictions against them. That is 256 per cent more than 2008 when, according to freedom of information figures, there were 166 offences between 133 serving officers.
Among them are 14 inspectors, five senior sergeants, 80 sergeants, 236 senior constables, 20 probationary constables and 13 student officers.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. Policing expert Michael Kennedy says his tought line is the reason for the increase in convictions. Source: DailyTelegraph
Policing expert Michael Kennedy said the reason for the increase was probably due to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione taking a tough line and a culture of police reporting and prosecuting their own.
“On face value these figures appear to be negative for the police but on the other side, Scipione does not interfere,” Dr Kennedy said.
Dr Kennedy, a former detective and lecturer in policing at the University of Western Sydney, said some police chiefs in parts of Australia had been known for “having a word” with officers facing the criminal courts so they could resign quietly.
“But Scipione does not do that. If they are charged, he lets the system deal with them,” he said.
Former assistant commissioner Clive Small said: “An increase of over 200 per cent over five years is a worrying trend that the police and the government need to keep an eye on.”
In cases still in the courts, a female officer has been charged with stalking, intimidating and bugging, a male officer has been accused of setting up a bathroom spy camera to secretly film people and theft, lying and corruption.
Marc Osborn, dubbed ‘Sergeant Sleaze’ for secretly filming sex tapes of unsuspecting girfriends. Source:News Limited
Mr Scipione said he had no tolerance for officers who broke the law and committed serious offences.
“If an officer’s offence causes me to lose my confidence in them, I will sack them. They will not be part of this police force,” he said.
However he said less serious offences should not warrant the end of a career but often the workplace penalties were worse than court penalties with officers demoted.
“Yes, there are officers still in this organisation who we have charged and who have recorded a conviction,” Mr Scipione said.
“In the majority of cases, these officers will have been convicted of a low range PCA or similar offence. While I am not happy about that, I don’t believe that warrants the end of a … career.”
Since he took over as commissioner in 2007, Mr Scipione has sacked 87 officers under section 181D of the Police Act, which states the commissioner has lost confidence in them.
Those are officers who have not been reinstated by the Industrial Relations Commission.
Senior police are known to be frustrated with the IRC which has forced them to reinstate an estimated half of all sacked officers after appeals.
The IRC has made it clear in their decisions that even a high-range PCA or similar offence could never be grounds for dismissal.
Former sergeant Andrew Lawrance, who the commissioner tried to sack in 2010 because he used his penis piercing to open beer bottles, was reinstated by the IRC.
Mr Scipione was warned about criticising the commission in 2009 by Justice Frank Marks, who considered contempt of court proceedings against the commissioner.