Any officer of the rank of inspector or above can approve applications to access the phone records of Victorians.
They did so 65,703 times in 2010-11, compared with 50,234 applications approved the previous year and 40,617 in 2008-09.
Telecommunications Act records also reveal Victoria Police spent almost $16 million tapping phones and recording conversations during the past three years.
They did so after getting 1036 phone bugging applications approved by Administrative Appeals Tribunal members during that time - almost one a day.
The head of Victoria Police's intelligence and covert support department yesterday defended the bugging and phone records snooping. "There is a very good reason for every one of them," Assistant Commissioner Jeff Pope said.
"There is a stringent process in place that we have to go through to have them approved.''
heraldsun.com.au 10 May 2012