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You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC response to recent QPU comments relating to misuse of information - 19 July 2017
You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC response to recent QPU comments relating to misuse of information - 19 July 2017
You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC response to recent QPU comments relating to misuse of information - 19 July 2017

CCC response to recent QPU comments relating to misuse of information - 19 July 2017

Queensland Police Union (QPU) President Ian Leavers’ reported response to the acquittal of Senior Constable David Neuman on computer hacking charges is an overreaction. (ABC Online – 18 July 2017 - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/qps-slammed-for-charging-veteran-officer-hacking/8717470)

In acquitting Neuman, Magistrate Lee stated that the circumstances of the case were somewhat unusual and turned on unique facts. In no way should this prosecution by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) lead to police officers feeling that they cannot properly investigate crime.

The fact remains the improper use of information by police officers is an ongoing issue of concern and can be a criminal offence. It continues to be an area of investigative focus for the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) this financial year.

Police officers are entrusted with access to highly confidential and personal information to assist them in discharging their duties, which the CCC acknowledges can be onerous at times.

The limits on their capacity to access this information are found in a range of legislation and the directions and determinations of the Commissioner of Police and Queensland Police Service (QPS). I accept that there will sometimes be cases where the distinction between work and non-work related purposes are blurred. These occasions call for the exercise of sound judgement.

However, it cannot be seriously suggested that looking up the personal details of the captain of a Queensland netball team, using the QPS database to determine if people from whom you buy drugs for personal use are under investigation or accessing personal information about individuals identified on dating services is anything but clear examples of misusing information. These are just a number of instances of officers unlawfully accessing the QPS database which have been considered by the CCC in recent times.

One thing on which Mr Leavers and I agree is his advice to members (QPU Journal August 2016) that officers should err on the side of caution, and not undertake a computer check unless satisfied the check is necessary for an official purpose. If officers are unsure, they should consult their supervisor. I would add that the officer should also make a note of the supervisor’s response.

The CCC continues to work collaboratively with the QPS to ensure officers are only accessing information for legitimate work-related purposes.

The last thing the CCC wants is to deter officers from doing their duty.

This can be achieved through the careful balancing of that duty and the public’s right to having their personal information protected.

Alan MacSporran QC
CCC Chairperson
19 July 2017

--ENDS--

For updates follow the CCC on Twitter: @CCC_QLD

Last updated: 19 July 2017
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