Vic drug squad police required to declare pecuniary interests

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Vic drug squad police required to declare pecuniary interests

The AIRC has ruled that the public interest in the requirement for declarations of pecuniary interests from Victorian Drug Squad officers far outweighed any deficit identified other than a privacy issue.

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The AIRC has ruled that the public interest in the requirement for declarations of pecuniary interests from Victorian Drug Squad officers far outweighed any deficit identified other than a privacy issue.

Recommendations were made to protect against the improper use of the information.

Any company interests, shareholdings, trusts, real estate and agreements regarding future employment were included.

Decision

Commissioner Gay concluded that it is within the power of the Chief Commissioner to require such full disclosure of private interests by a police officer engaged in the work of major drug investigation.

'While it may be true, as the [Police] Association chose to submit, that corrupt officers are unlikely to record in their declarations assets gained unlawfully or for which there may be no ready explanation, the value of the declaration is not only to serve as a reminder of the need for fidelity.

'The declarations also serve as an aide to clarify personal interests of an individual that may prove necessary as time goes by and questions come to notice.

...

'Deciding the present issue turns on the public interest issues...such as, the need for remedies to counter the potential for corrupt practice, consideration of the particular remedy sought, the harmful affects, if any, arising from that remedy and the extent to which they can be met or ameliorated and, in the converse, the affect of denying the application.'

Protection against improper disclosure

Commissioner Gay stated:

'Police serving in the MDID regularly give evidence in the courts. On the information currently before the Commission there is substance in the concern expressed by the Association...that there may be inadequate protection against disclosure without proper cause in legal proceedings.

'Nothing was put by the Force as to steps taken by it or proposed to be taken more generally to meet this concern. The Association's concern as to improper access and disclosure from within the Force may be capable of being met by existing legislation and the efforts of the parties as to storage and security which were foreshadowed in the proceedings.’

The matter was held over to allow the parties to consider the Commission’s views.

See: Chief Commissioner of Police v The Police Association - AIRC - Gay C - 17 June 2003.

 
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