For The Record

April 2014 

5 April 2014

In early 2014 there have been several media reports containing inaccurate claims that NSW Police has both recruited and maintained a workforce that has a significant criminal background. 

The claims are grossly exaggerated and involve the selective use of data in order to portray a distorted view of the NSW Police Force. 

The NSW Police Force currently consists of 16,311 serving police officers.

There are a number of police officers (430) who, at some time in their lives, usually when they were young and in numerous cases when they were children, were convicted of some form of offence. 

These offences date back some five decades in some cases. 

In the vast majority of cases, these were offences at the lower end of the scale (drink driving, traffic offences primarily) and generally there was a significant period of time between this offence and when the officer was recruited.

NSW Police has a rigorous screening process for new recruits. This includes thorough criminal record checks, fingerprint checks, field based character tests, DNA tests checked against police data bases and from this year, face to face behavioural based interviews of all students at the Police Academy. 

By way of example, a potential recruit will not be considered for entry to the academy if they have had a high-range drink driving conviction in the past ten years prior to their application, a mid-range drink driving conviction in the past five years or a low-range drink driving conviction in the past 2 years. 

These recruiting strategies are designed to exclude those with a criminal record from entering the NSW Police Force. 

 If a recruit has some form of conviction in their past, this is dealt with on a case by case basis with the sole consideration of whether this person is suitable to become a police officer. If they are not, they will not be recruited. 

If a police officer commits an offence, they are shown no favouritism. They will be charged and out before the court. The NSW Police Force issues a media release if a serving is charged.

Further, the Commissioner than examines the suitability of that person to continue as a police officer. If an officer commits a serious offence, they will be exited from the organisation. 

To put this in context, since 2007, 57 currently serving officers have been convicted of some form of offence. In that same period, NSW Police has dismissed a total of 186 officers no longer considered to be suitable to be police officers. 

In other words, the Commissioner will remove all unsuitable officers, some of whom may have committed an offence but most will have lost the Commissioner’s confidence for some other reason.

The most misleading claim made in some media reporting is the number of police with convictions has tripled in the last five years.

Wrong. 

In fact, there are now fewer officers with any form of conviction. In September 2007, there were 433 officers with some form of conviction. 

In March 2014, that number is 430 – this drop has occurred during a period when NSW Police has recruited 5,713 new police officers and the overall strength of the organisation has increased by more than 1,000 officers.

The NSW community should have every confidence that the police force that serves them is a force that is a highly trained and committed force with integrity at the core of its being. Should an officer betray that commitment to integrity, they can expect to be exited.

The data set containing all convictions by currently serving NSW Police officers can be found on the page: Explanatory Note for GIPAA data.

March 2014 

20 March 2014

Channel 10 News story (20/3/13) on the launch of Operation Javelin IV contained several inaccuracies. 

The story incorrectly described Operation Javelin IV as "all show and no substance" and that "there was nothing new, not one extra officer".

The facts are:
  • Operation Javelin IV is a specific operation targeting fare evasion, crime and anti-social behaviour on the public transport network;
  • Operation Javelin IV is intelligence led and officers are rostered and allocated as part of the operation orders;
  • This is the first time that officers from the Police Transport Command and Transport Officers have worked together on Javelin;
  • This launch was never intended to announce or promote extra officers to the PTC.

The story wrongly stated that the PTC is 200 officers short. The fact is the current authorised strength is 456, the actual number of officers is 416.

And the story contained allegations of an assault on a young woman. NSW Police has reviewed its records and can find no report of the incident. We encourage anyone who is a victim of crime or who sees an incident occurring to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or dial triple zero (000) in an emergency so we can investigate, find those responsible and bring them to justice.

February 2014

25 February 2014

Ten News on 24 Feb 2014 claimed police numbers are "well below strength" in the CBD precinct. The story also claimed that officers from other specialist commands, including the Police Transport Command are being used to "plug holes". This is untrue.

Central Metropolitan Region (14 Local Area Commands, Region Office and Region Operational Support)

Authorised strength: 2,345 (31 December 2013)

Actual: 2,327 (31 December 2013)

Operational Capacity: 93% (13 December 2013)

Given the operational capacity of Central Metropolitan Region, NSW Police Force can unequivocally assure the community there will be sufficient police to support day-to-day policing and special operational requirements.

The operational capacity for Central Metropolitan Region is currently at 93%, which is above the statewide target of 90%.

Each of the Local Area Commands within the CBD Entertainment Precinct is above the operational capacity target and the difference in actual numbers is minimal.

Operation Compello will be staffed by officers attached to Central Metropolitan Region and specialist units including Alcohol and Licensing Enforcement Command (ALEC), Police Transport Command (PTC), Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), Mounted Unit and Dog Unit.

For officers in Central Metropolitan Region, a targeted operation like Compello is not an unusual occurrence; it is an everyday part of policing Australia’s largest city.

January 2014

21 January 2014

The former NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal (now the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal) announced its decision in the case of Shoebridge v NSW Police on 31 December 2013.  This is the response from NSW Police.

The ADT affirmed the decision under GIPAA that police did not hold the CCTV footage viewed by Mr Rook on 20 September 2011 at the time Mr Shoebridge made his application under GIPAA on 8 November 2011.

The Judgement at paragraph 62 states: "...there is no evidence that any officer (in the Respondent - ie: Commissioner of Police) has failed to exercise in good faith any function conferred on them by or under the GIPA Act. If in fact the missing footage was lost between 20 September 2011 and 8 November 2011, it is improbable that any officer with a function conferred on them by or under the GIPA Act would have dealt with the CCTV footage."

Further at paragraph 63 the Judicial Member finds: "I am unable to identify any officer who could be said to have failed to exercise in good faith a function conferred on them."

To suggest the missing footage was deliberately removed would be completely incorrect and not a true reflection of the ADT decision. Equally there is no evidence or indication from the Judicial Member that Rose Bay Police altered any reports. To suggest otherwise would misrepresent the true judicial position and finding.

There is insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations of assault or mistreatment of Mr Rook or Mr Tanner by police in 2011.

December 2013 

20 December 2013

ABC 730 ran a story on Thursday 19 December 2013 "Insurance company spying on stressed cops".  This is the statement NSW Police provided. 

NSW Police is not involved in insurance claims and assessments made by former police officers. These policies are contracted by other organisations on behalf of the NSWPF and are ultimately a matter for the insurer and policy holder.

However, the NSWPF is aware of the delays in MetLife's determination of total and permanent disablement claims and the methods used in assessing those claims. 

The Force is disappointed with the delays in finalising the claims of the former officers and is concerned at the impact on their ongoing treatment and recovery. The Force has voiced its concerns about the delays.   

The NSW Police Force believes that if a former officer is then totally and permanently disabled, they should be paid their benefits as quickly as possible. 

MetLife is no longer contracted as one of the insurers of NSW Police officers. 

The safety and welfare of all our officers is paramount.

The NSW Police Force has a strong program of support for staff suffering from PTSD and mental illness that includes preventative programs. Support and preventative programs available in the organisation include:

  • Trauma Response. This program is available 24 hours a day and provides on site consultation with a psychologist who has expertise dealing with trauma. 
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available on confidential basis to any staff member, sworn or unsworn, and their families on a 24 hour basis. 
  • Peer Support Program. This involves a program of 1200 trained officers who identify distressed officers with a view to referring the officer to the appropriate support services. There are trained PSO's across the state.
  • WellCheck Program - A psychological risk management tool to identify as early as possible any officers at risk of developing psychological illness as a result of their duties. This program also offers coping strategies to assist with the management of the stressors of their jobs. The program is targeted at units at risk of repeated exposure to traumatic incidents.
  • Chaplaincy is available 24/7 for crisis intervention with more than 100 chaplains across NSW.

 

Training is offered across the organisation on resilience and stress management and these are supplemented by programs and presentations from external providers who are Mental Health experts. There are also a number of resources related to mental wellness open to all staff 24/7 through the intranet.

Applicants for jobs within units subject to greater exposure to trauma are psychologically screened prior to entry to those units. This may include the use of a psychologist on the selection panel.

Commanders who have concerns about the psychological wellbeing of an officer can proactively refer the officer to an experienced occupational physician and psychologists in the Police Medical Officer (PMO) unit.

Officers who report psychological injury enter the workers compensation system and are assisted and case managed by both internal Injury Management Advisors as well as case managers from the insurer. Treatment would typically involve both a general practitioner and a mental health professional (psychiatrist/psychologist). Return to Work plans are fashioned around the psychological diagnosis and needs of an officer. 

October 2013

22 October 2013 

Last night's Four Corners program reported the deaths of two young people at Molong, near Orange, on Australia Day 2010.

The loss of two young lives on the Australia Day long weekend in 2010 was a terrible tragedy. 

The Four Corner program contained views, commentary and inferences that were critical of the police investigation into this matter.

However, the most detailed and independent review of both the evidence and the investigation was effectively ignored.

This significant omission denied the program's viewers material that would benefited their understanding of these tragic events.

The Coronial Inquest was a comprehensive, independent examination of all the evidence running over seven days, taking submissions from all the parties in a court setting (a link to the Inquest's findings is below).

It was the conclusive view of the Coroner that the police investigation was "thorough" - she emphasised the point a number of times in her findings.

The investigation was reviewed and summarised by a Superintendent whose review was then examined by another Superintendent at the Professional Standards Command.

The brief of evidence was also examined by the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Magistrate Sharon Freund specifically addressed concerns of the victims' families of a conflict of interest with the police investigation. Ms Freund made it clear that the events "did not occur in a vacuum". 

The inquest highlighted the steps that were taken – many of them against the interest of the driver – to ensure that the investigation was “open, transparent and thorough." 

Magistrate Freund went further stating that the investigation "was not compromised by the fact that Rhys Colefax is the son of a police officer who was formerly stationed at Orange."

The Deputy Coroner drew attention to a possible anomaly in the relevant legislation in respect of taking evidentiary samples following a fatal accident on private property. Experts within the NSW Police Force and other agencies are currently considering this issue and will advise Government whether amendments are required.

The matter was subject to a thorough and detailed police investigation that has been extensively reviewed and examined internally as well as by independent external authorities.

Link to NSW Coroner's Court findings: Wannan, Eliza & William Dalton-Brown (PDF,319 kb) 

 

September 2013

4 September 2013

ABC 7.30 ran a story on Tuesday 3 September 2013 on the 2009 death of Nadine Haag. The Deputy State Coroner, Paul MacMahon, returned an open finding.

This is the statement provided to the program:

NSW Police have conducted a lengthy investigation into the death of Nadine Haag on the 3rd of December 2009.

Police met with the family on several occasions where they raised a number of issues and concerns.

As a result, the case was reviewed by The Hills Local Area Command and the Homicide Squad.

The Deputy State Coroner said that any criticism of the Officer in Charge was inappropriate and that she complied with each and every request made of her.

Magistrate Paul MacMahon also said that he was satisfied that the evidence disclosed that the "possibility of Nadine's death being self-inflicted is a real one ...[and that] it would not be possible to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that a known person has caused Nadine's death."

The NSW Police Force's Homicide Squad will review the findings of the Deputy Coroner.

June 2013

21 June 2013

Statement from NSW Police Force regarding ABC “Lateline” report on Catholic Church

Original documentation concerning the meetings was confidential and maintained by the NSW Professional Standards Office of the Catholic Church. 

The only material that was shredded were copies of that original documentation which had been circulated to members of the Church's NSW Professional Standards Resource Group prior to each meeting. 

The circumstances surrounding the appointment of representatives from the NSW Police Force to the Catholic Church's NSW Professional Standards Resource Group and the manner in which that group operated will be considered by the Special Commission of Inquiry. 

NSW Police Force will continue to provide full cooperation and assistance to this Inquiry. 

The Inquiry is resuming public hearings next week for a period of four weeks.  

6 June 2013

Today's Sydney Morning Herald makes claims that NSW Police are "grossly over-represented" in an Australian Institute of Criminology study on police pursuit-related deaths.  This statement clarifies the situation.

The Australian Institute of Criminology Report indicates that there has been a significant decline in the number of pursuits in New South Wales - down 20% since 2004. 

There has also been a decline in the rate of fatal pursuits in NSW, which is also half the national average (1.1/1000 compared with 2.2/1000 nationwide). 

It's important to note that states and territories have different definitions of pursuits. In addition, NSW has 1/3 of Australia's population and 5.2 million registered vehicles and 4.6 million licensed drivers. 

NSW Police adhere to strict protocols when engaging in pursuits to ensure the safety of the public. If all drivers conduct themselves within the law and stop when signalled to do so by police, there would be no need for pursuits.  

 

May 2013

10 May 2013

Below, please find details regarding the Mounted Police Unit's new agistment facilities in Sydney's Inner West.

The NSW Police Force Mounted Unit is delighted to have been offered access to 13 hectares of land in Sydney’s Inner West for its team of horses to rest.

 

The Sydney Local Health District has signed an agreement with the Mounted Unit allowing the agistment of police horses within the Yaralla Estate, situated off Nullawarra Avenue, Concord West.

 

The agreement is in keeping with The Walker Trust Act of 1938, designating the estate, also known as the Dame Eadith Walker and Thomas Walker Estates, for horse agistment and spelling.

 

Commander of the NSW Police Force's Mounted Police Unit, Inspector Kirsten McFadden, said the new facility would make a huge difference to the unit's horse agistment program.

 

“The training and agistment facility at the Dame Eadith Walker Estate provides the perfect fit for the NSW Police Force’s Mounted Police Unit,” said Insp McFadden.

 

“In recent times we have had to utilise a number of different properties for horse agistment. Unfortunately, over the past four years, the number of available properties has decreased, leaving us with a limited amount of space spread across a variety of different locations.

 

“The Dame Eadith Walker Estate provides sufficient space, stabling and secure buildings, all in one location centrally located between our primary areas of operation – Sydney’s CBD and the western suburbs.

 

“While we will maintain our operational base at Redfern, the agistment facilities at the estate will enable us to deploy faster and more efficiently than ever before. Plus, our horses will benefit from more regular agistment in a spacious and familiar environment.”


Insp McFadden added that the Mounted Police Unit's use of the estate will be mutually beneficial - for both police and local stakeholders.

 

“Our unit is the oldest continuously operating mounted police unit in the world, and we have a wealth of experience and expertise in horse and stable management,” Insp McFadden said.

 

“Not only does this arrangement benefit our officers and horses, we are confident our presence will benefit the facility.”

 

The Mounted Unit will continue its long tradition of allowing public access to the facility and opportunities to visit the horses.

 

“In addition, we will run regular open days to give insight into the Mounted Unit and policing in general.”

 

It is anticipated the Mounted Unit will begin agistment at the Yaralla Estate later in the year.

 

“We would like to thank the Department of Health for offering us the use of this excellent facility and we look forward to working closely with the Sydney Local Health District over the coming years,” Insp McFadden said.

April 2013

30 April 2013

Today's (30/4/13) Daily Telegraph states that a lack of resources has prevented the Child Abuse Squad from arresting 50 offenders.  This statement clarifies the situation.

There has been a substantial increase in the reporting of crimes against children in the past three to five years which has considerably increased the workload of the Child Abuse Squad.

As a result, the Child Abuse Squad, together with Human Resources, conducted an extensive review into the workload and capabilities of the squad.

A number of recommendations, including an increase in detectives, were made to the Police Executive.

At the time those recommendation were submitted (January 2013), there were approximately 50 offenders outstanding following CAS investigations. All of those offenders were arrested in the subsequent weeks.

The Child Abuse Squad assesses and prioritises all investigations on risk-basis, meaning that incidents where children remain at imminent risk are dealt with immediately.

Since the report was completed (January) the Child Abuse Squad has received 10 additional positions.

26 April 2013

Ten News this evening reported there had been a “spike” in graffiti crime, with record numbers of tags and murals suggesting an “epidemic” in this crime.

The fact is that there has been a increase in the reporting of graffiti. An increase in reporting does not equal an increase in attacks. The follow statement was provided to Ten News but was only partially reported.

NSW POLICE STATEMENT

Combating graffiti on the NSW public transport network is a priority for NSW Police and the Police Transport Command in particular.

In the last 12 months, 609 people have been arrested for graffiti and graffiti related offences on the transport network.

There has been an increase in the reporting of malicious damage due to the fact that the NSW Police Force has been encouraging reporting by Railcorp to assist in our intelligence base, safety by design responses and overall knowledge of tags, locations, times and dates. The increase was anticipated and incorporated in operational planning by the PTC.

The current command response is significantly more effective than the old Rail Vandalism Taskforce. The entire command is focused on combating graffiti across the transport network.

16 April 2013 

The Channel Ten story on the Police Transport Command (15/4) makes false and misleading claims that the establishment of the PTC is not going to plan and that rail passengers are in more danger now than before the PTC was established.

The establishment of the Command has always been planned as a staged process with 610  officers patrolling the state's public transport network by 2014. The PTC has 305 officers - not 284 as was reported by Channel 10. The 'actual' strength figure of 284 was from the Operational Strength figures that were current as of 14 December 2012 (although operational strength does not count those on long term sick leave, maternity leave etc). The PTC is recruiting all the time and by the 14th of May is expected to have 325 officers.

The Police Transport Command is committed to improving public safety on or near near public transport networks by reducing the level of personal and property crime, reducing anti-social behaviour, improving passenger safety and reducing the fear of crime, and improving the co-ordination of safety and policing services on public transport.

Police have more powers to deal with crime when it occurs, police can respond quicker to incidents when they happen  and regular operations are planned and conducted on the transport network - based on intelligence - to prevent and respond to incidents on the transport network.

Since the Command was established on the 1st of May last year, the PTC has made more than 1800 arrests, laid over 3200 charges, issued more than 31000 infringements and conducted over 3700 actions under the Young Offenders Act for a range of offences, including graffiti and fare evasion.

3 April 2013

The following information relates to a 'denial of whistleblower status' story that appeared on the ABC 7:30 Report on 2 April 2013. 

The officer sought to make several disclosures under the NSW Public Interest Disclosures Act.

One disclosure was declined because it didn't meet the requirements of the legislation.

The remaining matters were deemed to be protected disclosures meaning the officer is afforded protection under the Act.

In addition, the officer is automatically afforded protection for information disclosures, under the NSW Police Act and the Force's own internal policies.

The officer has been informed of these outcomes.

 

February 2013 

8 February 2013 

There is a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald which suggests Middle Eastern leaders are unhappy that the newly formed Operation Apollo is focused solely on the Middle Eastern community.

The head of Operation Apollo, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis says that is not the case:

"We need to do everything in our power to address this problem,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said. 

“There are too many guns in the community and they are being accessed by criminals.

"Apollo builds on the success of Operation Spartan using the criminal investigation and criminal targeting expertise of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (MEOCS) in conjunction with the local knowledge and community engagement of Local Area Commands. 

“MEOCS also has the existing structure of uniformed police, highway patrol and investigative capacity to disrupt those carrying guns and investigate gun crime.

"Importantly, this is not about targeting a particular community group. In fact, its the opposite. We cannot solve the gun crime problem alone and the relationship with all sections of our community is critical to the success of this operation. Indeed, we are seeing some healthy signs with investigators receiving valuable support and co-operation from community members that is helping us solve crimes and take guns from those who shouldn't have them.

"I want to reassure you that we will continue to listen and consult. We need to work together to make our community a safer place for all our families." 

5 February 2013

The New South Wales Police Force notes the story posted on the ITNews website on 29th January 2013, regarding a case between Micro Focus and the NSWPF.

NSWPF believes the article is misleading and inaccurate.

 Below is a comment provided by the other party in this dispute -  Micro Focus.

“The Micro Focus representative quoted in this article was not authorised to speak to any media about this matter which is a private matter between Micro Focus and our client. The contents of the article do not reflect the views of Micro Focus and do not provide an accurate summary of the terms of the settlement, the chronology of the proceedings or the conduct of the parties, nor the circumstances leading to the settlement.” 

December 2012

19 December 2012

The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Nine News on 18 December 2012.

In response to Channel Nine's story (18/12/12) on transporting prisoners by NSW Police Force. 

NSW Police Force has traditionally transported all prisoners. The NSWPF is still required to transport some juvenile offenders and adult female offenders.

Where the travelling distance is 250km or further, one-way, prisoners are transported by air mostly by propeller aircraft (in the last 6 months 12 out of 83 flights were by jet). Transporting prisoners by air has been carried out by NSW Police for decades. It improves;

* Community safety, by reducing the time escorting police are out of their commands

* The safety of transporting officers and prisoners

* The speed of the transportation process

* Efficiency

* Effectiveness

A jet has the added benefit of having a significantly higher level of safety, speed and flexibility. It is able to fly through storms or at higher altitudes and for longer to avoid bad weather which may ground propeller craft. In some instances, a jet is the only aircraft available.

Transporting prisoners by air costs the NSWPF about $800 000 per year.

August 2012

21 August 2012

The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Nine News on 21 August 2012

You may have seen a report on a 2010 decision by NSW Police to reject a user-pays request from the Kings Cross Licensing Accord. For the record, the truth of the situation is:

"NSW Police Force gave due consideration to a lengthy application for user pays police at Kings Cross. During the process, there was extensive and regular consultation between the Kings Cross Licensing Accord and senior NSW Police.

"The decision to reject the application was made because it was restrictive, only applying to "stakeholders in this proposal" and limiting the ability of police to respond to crime outside those venues.

"The Cost Recovery and User Charges policy also says that these services should not involve static guard duty; moreover, the supplementary provisions of the policy clearly state that the Force "does not enter into a supplementary policing arrangement for the sole benefit of licensed premises, registered clubs or the casino".

"And the application presented a serious conflict of interest for police, particular in terms of our ability to impartially enforce the provision of the Liquor Act.

"20-30 additional officers are already rostered on duty in Kings Cross on Friday and Saturday nights. That number is increased further in summer."  

July 2012

9 July 2012

Police cautions in road matters

The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Seven News on 9 July 2012

  • There is no systemic issue with failed prosecutions in traffic matters due to police not providing cautions
  • No recurring issues have arisen from Failed Prosecutions Review Committees
  • Cautions are NOT required in many traffic related cases - covered by various pieces of legislation
  • Every driver is required to state his or her name, home address, and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle
  • If the vehicle is involved in a collision, the driver is required to provide the police officer with an explanation of the circumstances of the crash'
  • The person responsible for the vehicle (eg registered operator or custodian) is also required to provide police with the name and address of the person who was driving it if it is alleged that the vehicle was involved in an offence under Road Transport legislation. Thus if the registered operator was the driver at the relevant time, he or she is obliged to admit that fact
  • Prosecutors rely on the evidence the officer gives of his or her observations and in most cases NOT the offender's admissions to the police officer - therefore absence of a caution is rarely relevant

April 2012

26th April 2012

NSW Police Force response to claims on ABC TV 7.30 Program regarding civil action over software copyright.

This matter is a contract dispute between two parties which is currently the subject of civil action.

NSW Police firmly maintains that it paid for a site licence which entitled all police users to use that software. Site licences are not uncommon.

Furthermore, this site license expressly permitted NSWPF to use the software after the expiry of the maintenance contract in 2003.

In relation to other aspects of the claim, NSW Police has made reasonable offers to settle but these offers have been rejected.

The company also declined NSWPF offers for mediation before starting proceedings.

The NSWPF also strongly rejects suggestions it involved lawyers in discussions with the company without consultation. The company had every opportunity to attend with its own lawyers.

Further, NSWPF does not concur with the company’s calculation of costs to the Force should the company be successful with its civil action.

NSWPF also denies fresh claims in relation to the NetManage Applet and will vigorously contest the matter.

March 2012

5th March 2012

The following information was supplied to ABC Television's Four Corners program for an episode that aired on 5 March 2012.

INVESTIGATIONS

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) is investigating the NSW Police Force's critical incident investigation into the Salter matter. Until the PIC finalises its inquiries we cannot comment on this matter any further.

The Force conducts thousands of internal investigations every year. The system of independent oversight by a number of authorities including the Police Integrity Commission and the NSW Ombudsman ensures that investigations are robust, transparent and effective.

In 2011, NSWPF received 5320 complaints that were oversighted by the Ombudsman. Of these 4530 were triaged and resolved with the complainants. Of the remaining 790, 30 per cent were sustained.

In 2011, three officers were dismissed by the Commissioner.

MENTAL HEALTH

The NSW Police Force has played a leading role in developing the best possible policing responses to mental health issues.

In 2010, NSW Police responded to 36,500 mental-health related incidents under the Mental Health Act 2007.

NSWPF has been at the forefront of policing and mental health in Australia.

We are training, on average, one class a month for frontline police across the state in a four-day Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT) training program. More than 700 officers have undergone the training program since its inception in 2007. The Force has committed to training 10 per cent of all operational police by 2015. The program has now been adopted by the ACT Police.

NSW Police is also developing a one-day intensive mental health training program.

NSW Police is involved in several NSW Government research projects including Mental Health Frequent Presenters and Mental Health and Cognitive Disability in the NSW Criminal Justice System.

MHIT Facts:

  • We have trained over 700 frontline police in the 4-day training program
  • The program has been adopted by ACT AFP
  • We present regularly to carers and consumer groups, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and many others
  • We have plans to train all frontline police in mental health issues
  • We provide advice and guidance to the field on operational policing issues as well as manage policy and strategy provisions for the NSWPF
  • We have presented internationally in Europe, USA and Canada
  • We are a member of the worldwide Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) International - a body that brings together police forces which have similar programs to the MHIT

December 2011

15 December 2011

Mythbuster: reports on the "record failure" of NSWPF Drug Detection dogs are false and misleading.

The figures quoted were provided to NSW Parliament by the Dog Unit but have been misinterpreted.

The report states that there have been "a record 80% false positives" because only 20% of searches resulted in drug seizures.

The facts:

Of the 17,198 searches by drugs dogs so far this year:

  • 27% have resulted in drug seizures;
  • 61% have resulted in "residual admit' (no actual drugs found but the person searched admitted to having had contact with drugs, explaining the odour that the drug detection dog has indicated);
  • 15% have resulted in "residual deny" (no actual drugs found and the person doesn't admit to having had contact with drugs, attributable to limited powers to conduct more intrusive searches and the person being untruthful about being in contact with drugs).

The total comes to 103% because when multiple types of drugs are detected, the system records the seizures separately but it's not recorded as an additional search.

Sniffer dogs are close to 100% accurate.

They are an important facet of the overall harm minimisation strategy of NSWPF.

In addition, the dogs have a strong deterrence factor: they not only lead to the seizure of drugs from dealers and users, but people also dump their drugs when they see the dogs. Thus these drugs are not consumed and the risk avoided.

The majority of person searches conducted by NSW Police do not involve the use of a drug detection dog. However, in the instances the animals are used, police use other observations - in conjunction with the dog's indication - to form the reasonable cause for a personal search.

Here are the links to the two articles:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/sniffer-dogs-get-it-wrong-four-out-of-five-times-20111211-1oprv.html

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/police-arrest-more-suspects-angry-at-failed-dog-searches-20111213-1ot6d.html

November 2011

4 November 2011

On Thursday night, the Police Association of NSW issued a statement to members that indicated that the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione had, during a media conference, criticised payments to individual officers under the NSW Police Death and Disability Scheme.

The Commissioner was quoted in the statement as having said "I have seen the payment, they are phone numbers."

Unfortunately, these quotes are not correct and at no stage during Thursday's media conference did the Commissioner make any reference to individual payments to officers, let alone criticise those payments.

For the record, the Commissioner referred only to figures quoted by the Police Minister which related to the escalating cost of the total scheme in successive years.

This is what Minister Gallacher said.

"It's quite significant. In fact to give you an idea, this will bring down the running costs quite significantly. If I can give you an idea, just last year alone, if you couple together death and disability, workers comp, top up and hindsight adjustment - $460 million dollars last year.

"This year, in exactly the same areas, workers comp, death and disability, top up, hindsight, $762 million.

"Next year bring down quite considerably, my understanding is we will see it back down I think about 66 million next year."

This is what the Police Commissioner said.

"It is most important to understand that from my perspective this is really about the more we can get back, the better it'll be. And you've heard some of the figures quoted by the Minister.......you know, they're telephone numbers. They're extraordinarily big amounts of money. He quoted a figure there from my perspective when he talked about seven hundred and sixty odd million.

"That's approaching half of all the money I will spend this year on police salaries."

For the record, video of the extended media conference with both the Minister and the Police Commissioner can be seen here (http://youtu.be/R715_puBcyo).