15 December 2016

Victorian cops using and trafficking drugs according to anti-corruption investigations

Victorian police have been caught using, possessing and trafficking illicit drugs amid systemic deficiencies within the force, an anti-corruption report says. Picture: File, 7 News

Cops partying on ice, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy would meet up with known traffickers, peddle drugs themselves and return positive tests, three Victorian anti-corruption investigations have uncovered.

Victoria’s anti-corruption commission on Tuesday tabled a special report concerning serious misconduct including illicit drug use by Victoria Police officers.

The report exposed evidence of illicit drug and identified serious deficiencies in the handling of drug issues by the force, according to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
The Commission conducted three operations into the possession, trafficking and use of illicit drugs by police officers since 2014, as part of investigations Operation Apsley, Hotham and Yarrowitch.

The IBAC report exposed illicit drug and identified serious deficiencies in the handling of drug issues by the force. Picture: IBAC
"Police officers cannot be selective in choosing which criminal laws they will obey," IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said in a statement.

"Our investigations found that while most of the police officers investigated were aware they were engaging in illegal conduct, they rationalised their off-duty criminality as being separate to their obligations as police officers.”

The commissioner called illicit drug use by police officers “unacceptable” and said it adversely impacted public safety and undermined the community’s level of trust and respect for police and the law.

“Illicit drug use, possession and trafficking are criminal offences which contravene the oath or affirmation sworn by all police officers, as well as contravening the professional and ethical standards and values Victoria Police are required to uphold," he said.

IBAC said illicit drug use by police officers was “unacceptable” and adversely impacted public safety. Picture: File, 7 News.

Victoria Police's alcohol and drugs policy stated illicit drugs use was not tolerated but there was some "ambiguity" around the consequences of illegal drug use, IBAC said.

In saying illicit drug use by police was a “serious problem with significant ramifications”, the anti-corruption commission added that the activity exposed officers to compromise and corruption, which left them vulnerable to blackmail or coercion.

“Victoria Police’s authority to uphold the law, and maintain the community’s respect for the law, are eroded by police using illicit drugs. An individual officer using illicit drugs lessens their authority to enforce the law, and diminishes the collective authority of Victoria Police in the community,” the report stated.

The special report on illicit drugs is the fourth this year relating to IBAC's oversight of Victoria Police.

Police have accepted the recommendations and committed to reviewing policies and practices, with a progress report due on June 30 next year, IBAC said.

Victoria Police must provide IBAC with a final report by June 30, 2018.

au.news.yahoo.com 13 Dec 2016

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