30 August 2011

POLICE officers are losing identification badges in their hundreds, leading to fears they are being used to commit crimes.

A Herald Sun investigation has found police badges are the most commonly lost piece of unique police equipment, with 547 badges - one a week - reported missing in the past 10 years to July this year.

Victoria Police has refused to explain how large piles of badges vanished on the same day, with as many as 21 reported missing on a single day in 2005.

Security expert Roger Henning said the badges posed a serious threat to the community in the wrong hands.

"Criminals do get their hands on these things, that has been proven time and time again," he said. "It is an extraordinary number of losses. It's a real shock."

Mr Hemming, CEO of the privately run Homeland Security Asia Pacific, said the badges were a highly valued commodity to criminals, particularly members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"They have been used by guys to pull over girls driving alone. They have been used for all sorts of nefarious activities," he said.

"Bikies are very, very good at infiltrating law enforcement agencies."

Documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws revealed a dozen badges disappeared on April 14 this year, 12 on January 20 last year, 13 on June 29, 2009, and 18 on December 30, 2008.

Police badges have historically been used across the country to commit crimes.

"Catch me if you can" thief Jodie Harris was arrested after using a stolen interstate police badge to fool Victorian police several years ago.

A pile of NSW police uniforms and a police badge were found with a stockpile of weapons including machineguns and tasers during a raid linked to outlaw bikie gangs in May, 2009.

And in July this year, four men allegedly involved in Melbourne's escalating gangland war in the north were charged with impersonating police. It is unknown if they used badges.

Other items police reported missing in the past decade include 145 handcuffs, 111 caps with badges, 39 identification passes, 12 ballistic vests, 159 alcometers, 70 radios, batons, capsicum spray, computers, torches, cameras and a Smith & Wesson revolver, which was later found.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said officers were in possession of more than 170,000 items such as handcuffs, equipment belts, caps and identification badges.

"This data shows that the theft or loss of stolen property is minimal, equating to 0.005 per cent of Victoria Police's total assets," Ms Johnson said.

The Herald Sun attempted to find out how many of the missing items had been recovered, and was told by Victoria Police's Freedom of Information department the information did not exist.

But police claim many are recovered.

"Victoria Police has a large recovery rate where lost or stolen items are concerned, particularly in relation to police identification badges," Ms Johnson said.

"Victoria Police treats the theft and loss of police property and equipment with the utmost seriousness and investigates all incidents as per the normal criminal process."

heraldsun.com.au 29 Aug 2011

Police badges are actually sold on the black market for a high price by corrupt police.

There is a market for this commodity, where criminals take crime to the next level.

This fact is well known to government, and has been going on for many more years than the mass media has reported.

In order not to create a panic, and a lack of confidence in the public's eye, again the real figures have been distorted.

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