Monthly Archives: September 2013

POLICEWOMAN WOKE TO FIND COLLEGUE HAVING SEX WITH HER

A Sydney Australia police officer says she woke up to find a senior colleague half naked and sexually assaulting her “with a grin on his face” after an office party, a court has heard.

Accused Timothy John Snow.

Timothy John Snow is accused of getting into bed with the woman, who cannot be identified, and touching her genitals, after she earlier rejected his advances during the party to farewell a colleague in February 2011.

Mr Snow, who held the rank of sergeant at the time, has pleaded not guilty to having sexual intercourse with the woman without her consent and to the alternative charge of indecent assault.

On the opening day of Mr Snow’s trial, Crown prosecutor Frank Veltro said members of a Sydney police squad stayed in a rented apartment on the night of February 17, after a day of golf, drinks and a meal

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“During the course of the speeches a few of the officers moved outside and the complainant found herself sitting next to the accused,” Mr Veltro told the jury at Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

“It’s then the accused placed his hand on her thigh. The complainant picked it up and took it off, but he replaced it.

“The complainant became upset … and even angry and got up and walked away.”

Later that night several colleagues went back to their accommodation and, after lying on the couch with Mr Snow during a group conversation, the woman took a sleeping tablet and got into the bed she was sharing with a female colleague.

Mr Veltro said the colleague will give evidence she heard Mr Snow say “I love you” to the woman, who said, “You can’t, you just need to forget me.”

The trial will be told Mr Snow later returned to the room and got into the bed, before the female colleague left the pair alone, Mr Veltro said.

The alleged victim will give evidence she was asleep and woke up to find her pyjama pants were missing and Mr Snow, who was wearing boxer shorts, was touching her.

“She opened her eyes and saw it was the accused with a grin on his face,” Mr Veltro said.

Mr Veltro said Mr Snow knew the woman was not consenting because she was asleep and he knew she had taken a sleeping tablet and drunk alcohol that night.

Defence barrister Raymond Hood urged the jury to use their common sense when considering the evidence.

Mr Hood said the woman had laid her head in Mr Snow’s lap while they were on the couch before the alleged incident and allowed him to stroke her hair.

There would be evidence the woman also called Mr Snow the next morning, Mr Hood said.

He said the jury would have to consider whether the woman’s evidence, which will be heavily relied on by the Crown, was accurate.

“The lady well knew what was taking place that particular time and she was consenting to what was taking place at that particular time.”

The trial continues before Judge Brian Knox

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Henry Sapiecha

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IS THIS POLICE FORCE BEHIND THE TIMES IN TECHNOLOGY?

VITAL police communication tools have been slammed as outdated in a major review of Queensland’s emergency services.

police radar gun

Former federal police boss Mick Keelty found a lack of investment in technology had left police officers significantly behind similar frontline organisations.

He wants every police officer to be issued with iPads or similar devices to perform instant searches or file reports from the road.

Mr Keelty’s final 400-page report into Police and Community Safety will be tabled in parliament today after being taken to Cabinet yesterday, where it was accepted in principle.

Civilians will replace uniformed police officers in speed camera vans and wide-load escorts after other recommendations from Mr Keelty, despite police union warnings it could lead to road deaths.

The Queensland Ambulance Service and Corrective Services departments will be moved, and the police and fire services will merge some office functions.

In another recommendation, the fleet of 2400 police vehicles would be fitted with GPS technology so their positions could be known at all times.

The ambulance and fire services can already track the movement of vehicles to help assign them to emergencies, while police rely on officers radioing in.

Poor police technology – in which officers must use radio to conduct vehicle registration and other searches – was frustrating officers and hampering their emergency and lifesaving work, Mr Keelty found.

Officers are also using their own video equipment at work and download the recordings at home because of a lack of service capacity.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart recently implemented a major restructure of the service which will remain largely the same.

However the state government will forge ahead with long-expected plans to take speed camera vans out of the hands of police, who operate them on overtime.

Speed cameras could be outsourced to private operators, be handed over to civilian public servants or be moved to another department.

The Queensland Police Service has fiercely opposed the move, warning it will destroy the system’s integrity and compliance and lead to more road deaths.

Police earn about $10 million a year in overtime from speed camera vans, or an average of $15,000 a year for the 600 trained officers.

The Queensland Ambulance Service will move from the Community Safety department to Queensland Health. Corrective Services, which runs the state’s prisons, will move to the department of Justice and the Attorney-General.

The remaining Community Services department will be renamed the department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Current fire commissioner Lee Johnson will lead the department, putting a uniformed officer in charge instead of a director-general. A deputy commissioner will be in charge of rural fire fighters.

The change is aimed at putting “emergency services back in charge of emergency services”, in line with the police commissioner heading the police service.

Business support areas – such as human resources and information management – in the police and fire services will merge and will be led by a chief executive of portfolio business.

The Keelty report does not flag job losses as a result of the merge and staff are expected to predominantly “stay in the same chairs”.

A new position of Inspector-General for emergency management will oversee the portfolio.

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Henry Sapiecha

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THIS POLICE SERVICE IS TRIALLING A SYSTEM WHERE YOUR REGO PLATE POSITION NUMBER IS TRACKED IN REAL TIME

POLICE will use GPS technology to capture the location of more than a million vehicles on Queensland roads at any one time – and will use it to charge criminals.

The geographic location of about 25,000 registration number plates are being stored by police each week under a trial that has alarmed civil libertarians.

The move is part of the broadened Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) trial, which uses global position systems and cameras fitted in police vehicles.

It means that if a motorist drives past a police car, their position is recorded. It will be stored for a year and one day. The trial will end in June 2014.

The location of about 25,000 registration number plates are being stored each week

READ MORE: Police use go card information for tracking

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said he believed most drivers would be comfortable with police using their number plates to track them and contact them if it means they can help solve a crime.

“The reality is that most people are very keen to help out where they can in terms of crimes,” Mr Emerson said.

“We are talking here about using that information to look for witnesses to crimes.

“Not many people would be concerned about them being contacted using their information to help deal with a crime when they occur.”

While police are using the information to bust unregistered vehicles, sources admit it could also be used to determine who was nearby when certain crimes were committed.

“If a request is made by a police officer for a search of the ANPR database to be conducted and the request is substantiated and approved by a commissioned officer as supporting an investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence, the recorded ANPR information can be lawfully used by the QPS,” police said in a statement to The Courier-Mail.

“The Queensland Police Service has strict accountability measures in place to govern the use of automatic numberplate recognition technology for broader law enforcement.”

Last week The Courier-Mail revealed police were tracing the everyday movements of thousands of Queenslanders by routinely accessing detailed phone records.

Even the mobile phone records of their own officers were being pulled, to determine if they had thrown sickies, had sex with police cadets at the academies or where they were if their boss was suspicious about their location on duty.

YOUR SAY: Should police use number plates to track people? Comment below

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Andrew Sinclair said the trial and what could be done with the information was concerning.

Mr Sinclair said the trial involved the collection of personal information, which violated the right to privacy and the principles embodied in the Privacy Act.

He said history showed that when a data collection device was created it was not long before it was turned to other purposes.

“At least there is an act governing the telcos (when police ask for some information) but there’s nothing governing how they collect and use the number plates,” Mr Sinclair said.

“And I’ll bet it ends up getting used for all sorts of things. Whether an officer’s wife is found in a part of town she’s not expected to be, was so and so really having a sickie etc.”

Queensland’s acting Privacy Commissioner Lemm Ex said his office had been apprised of the potential use of APNRs in Queensland.

“Number plates are not in themselves personal information. They become personal information if a link can be made between the number and the owner of the registered vehicle,” Mr Ex said. “Accordingly, the significant factor is not the capture of number plates but rather their recognition – the linking with an individual.

“If that linking is conducted for a law enforcement activities, no privacy issues arise with it.

“There is no provision in the Information Privacy Act for agencies to dispose of personal information when they no longer have a use for it, and only a limited obligation to de-identify health information.”

QPS has trialled the technology previously.