Category Archives: STORIES & NEWS

TAC suspends police funding after it was revealed that officers faked 258,000 breath tests

iT IS NOT CLEAR IF THE DELIBERATE FALSE READINGS WERE TO SAVE THE MOTORISTS OR GET EXTRA CONVICTIONS FOR THE STATE TO RAISE REVENUE.FORMER IS TRUE,THEN OK. IT WOULD SEEM THAT MORE TESTS WERE DONE BY OFFICERS ON THEMSELVES TO MEET QUOTAS FOR NUMBERS TESTED

The Transport Accident Commission has suspended its funding to Victoria Police following revelations officers falsified more than a quarter of a million roadside breath tests.

The Age revealed that more than 258,000 alcohol breath tests were faked over 5½ years, in what appears to be a rather deliberate ruse to dupe the system.

In the wake of the scandal, $4 million in annual funding the TAC gives to police for road safety measures has been put on hold, the head of Victoria Police’s Professional Standards Command, Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett, confirmed.

“The TAC have suspended funding of our operations at this point, and we’re currently working through that with them to give them some reassurances,” Mr Barrett said.

Meanwhile, an external investigator has been appointed to probe the breath-testing scandal. Former Victoria Police chief commissioner Neil Comrie will look into how the behaviour was condoned & allowed to occur and what the force could do to improve operational practice in the future.

“I had not heard of our members engaging in such practiceSs. We let ourselves down, we’ve let the community down. It stops now,” Mr Barrett told The Age on Wednesday night.

An audit found that in many situations, officers had blown into breath test units themselves or actually tampered with the test devices.

“Victoria Police doesn’t set quotas at local levels broadly,” Mr Barrett said on Thursday. “If local members, local managers set a target for members, then that’s a matter for local areas.”

The police findings represent about 1.5 per cent of the 17.7 million breath tests conducted.

Police said about 1500 preliminary breath test devices were analysed during the internal investigation.

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said the faked tests were the result of “critically under-resourced”, over-worked officers trying to meet unrealistic targets.

“Call them whatever you want, targets, quotas, objectives. It’s no lie, every individual van across the state gets told that they have to target PBTs … it is wrong to say it doesn’t happen. It does happen. It happens every shift,” he told radio station 3AW.

“They’ve had a dramatic increase in the amount of tests required out on the street. Asking the same amount of people to do more, if follows this sort of behaviour is likely to occur.”

He said he did not believe the members who faked the tests should be stood down.

“I dont think it’s criminal. It’s not fraud… no one is paid for the amount of tests they do. None of our members have a direct financial or other benefits from any of this.

“It’s the wrong thing to do, but it’s a far cry from criminality.”

Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville labelled the actions an “unacceptable breach of trust.”

“This conduct is extremely disappointing and unacceptable — it’s wrong, it’s a breach of trust, and it won’t be tolerated,” Ms Neville said.

While Ms Neville welcomed an independent investigation into the officers’ behaviour, she said there was no evidence to suggest their alleged conduct had affected drink-driving prosecutions.

But opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the breach raised plenty of questions.

“The integrity, not only of our police but our road safety regime, is paramount and it is up to Daniel Andrews to make sure this is thoroughly investigated,” Mr O’Donohue said.

The Transport Accident Commission raised concerns with Victoria Police after they found an anomaly in data late last year, Mr Barrett said.

It sparked the audit of the past 5½ years of data from the breathalyser devices.

Mr Barrett said the audit found a suspicious number of breath tests were being conducted in quick succession

Usually there should be a space of time between each test, to take into account an officer talking to a driver and breathalysing them, before moving on to the next car, he said.

But the faked tests occurred one after the other.

Mr Barrett said he believed officers were faking the tests to make themselves appear busier.

“The question we all asked was, ‘Why?’ There could be a number of reasons but the main rationale I believe is to hide or highlight productivity,” he said.

“Whatever reason our workforce may come up with, it isn’t acceptable.”

It is believed self-testing was largely undertaken by police on general duties or highway patrol members, with some rural areas overrepresented in the available data.

The practice was not common at supervised drug and alcohol bus testing sites, police stated.

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Henry Sapiecha

Legal nightmare for man as drug driving test returns positive for drug he’s never used

Cabinetmaker Steven Hunt image www.policesearch.net

Cabinetmaker Steven Hunt. Photo: Rohan Thomson

When Steve Hunt was pulled over for a routine roadside drug test on his way home from work, he thought everything would be fine.

He was wrong. I have no trust whatsoever in the police any more. Steve Hunt

That one test triggered a nightmare scenario in which he was repeatedly misdiagnosed as having methamphetamine – a drug he has never touched – in his system by police and NSW Health tests.

The case triggered NSW Health to begin double-testing samples, but that was too late for Mr Hunt, who was forced to pull $5000 out of his home loan to fight for his innocence. Losing his licence would mean he couldn’t work.

The state government is planning a massive roll-out of the same drug-driving tests that misdiagnosed Mr Hunt, with 100,000 NSW drivers expected to be tested – and it’s not to identify those under the influence of drugs (a different offence) but simply whether they have the “presence” of drugs in their systems.

Police admit there is no lower limit used for the amount of drugs detected.

“The first moment I realised something was wrong was when the policeman came back to me and said ‘I think we are going to have a problem here’,” Mr Hunt said.

The test had detected methamphetamine in his saliva. He was arrested and taken to a portable testing station, where a second test was negative. A further sample was sent to NSW Health pathology. Two weeks later he got the result: positive.

“I had been sitting there going to my wife ‘no, no, no, this won’t come back positive’,” he said. “I have never taken drugs in my life.”

Mr Hunt’s lawyers demanded the sample be retested. The same NSW Health lab, testing the same sample, got a negative result. A further test was also negative, and in court police did not present evidence, and the case was dismissed.

“I have no trust whatsoever in the police any more,” Mr Hunt said. “If it can go wrong once, it can go wrong again, and I don’t want to lose another five grand.”

Fairfax Media has also spoken to a woman, who did not want to be named, who had marijuana detected despite never having used the drug. She also had a positive, then negative, then positive result, but was never told she could get it retested.

Greens MP and justice spokesman David Shoebridge said the roadside drug testing was a “lottery”.

“The problem is the police are testing for tiny trace elements of drugs and this makes the results inherently unreliable,” Mr Shoebridge said. “Steve was just minding his own business … and he had his life turned upside down by a plainly stupid law. It’s awful what has happened to him, how much it has cost, and we know he is not alone.”

Mr Shoebridge said it was extremely difficult to get legal costs back from the government, but he had written to the Police Minister to suggest Mr Hunt be given an ex-gratia payment.

“It’s time to scrap the failed roadside testing regime and put in place a rational program that tests for impairment, and tests for every drug, not just a handful of illegal drugs,” Mr Shoebridge said.

NSW Police maintain the tests are an important deterrence tool in preventing road accidents caused by impaired drivers, which are implicated in 14 per cent of road fatalities. One in 10 tests this year returned a positive result, compared with one in 300 alcohol tests.

Sharon Neville, the acting director of the NSW Health Forensic and Analytical Science Service (FASS), said that since roadside drug testing was introduced in 2007 it had tested more than 14,000 samples, and Mr Hunt’s case was the only error it was aware of.

“The initial incorrect result reported by FASS was due to a manual handling error,” she said. “Additional measures and quality control steps were implemented as a result of this case, with all samples now being analysed twice before reporting. These steps ensure tighter controls on manual handling and all other parts of the process.”

She said the screening tests conducted by NSW Police had different sensitivities to the “comprehensive” testing equipment used by FASS.

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Henry Sapiecha

FRENCH POLICE HERE GOT INTO A LATHER

soap bars bulk image www.poicesearch.net

Soap, Dope — What’s the Difference? Frenchman Jacques Benoit Fiocconi traveled to Catalonia, Spain, to pick up a load of 2,850 bars of soap from a factory there. Shortly after the pickup, he was pulled over. Police demanded to know what the cargo was. Soap, Fiocconi replied. But a “narcotest” showed it was cocaine, and Fiocconi was arrested. A lab test later confirmed it really was soap, not cocaine, but it took seven more weeks for the court to “accept the findings” and order Fiocconi’s release. Fiocconi demanded compensation for the wrongful arrest and the resulting 70 days of incarceration, saying he had 83,000 euros (US$89,600) worth of financial losses and “moral damages.” Spain’s Ministry of Justice instead awarded him 8,400 euros — 120 euros (US$129) per day, saying that was the “standard rate” it offers for wrongful imprisonment. (RC/London Telegraph) …That sounds more like the rate for a mid-range hotel.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

POLICE HUMOUR & JOKES-Meant to kill the dog but killed himself

cartoon face & hand sketch moves points down animation www.policesearch.net

The Sentence That Can’t Be Appealed: Police in Pinellas Park, Fla., were pretty familiar with Dennis Eugene Emery, 57 — they had 34 “contacts” with him in two years, including arrests for domestic battery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of a crash. They were called to his house again after he had a fight with his wife. Officers say that the fight escalated and Emery went and got a gun, and was threatening to shoot one of the family’s dogs. As he backed down from that threat, he uncocked the pistol — as it was pointed at his face. He shot himself, and was killed. (RC/St. Petersburg Tribune) …Emery’s final arrest was by Officer Darwin.

blindfolded man suicides gun image www.policesearch.net

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

POLICE HUMOUR & JOKES-These People Crack Me Up

cartoon face & hand sketch moves points down animation www.policesearch.net

These People Crack Me Up: A man called police in Hoover, Ala., to report a woman driving erratically. The caller also alleged that she was smoking crack cocaine — and had a child in the car. Officers located the car in a parking lot, and when one of them approached the vehicle, he saw Bari Williams, 44, allegedly with a crack pipe in her hand. When Williams rolled down the window, the officer said the “smell of burnt crack cocaine was overwhelming.” Williams got out of the car, saying she was a social worker and the pipe was her husband’s, but eventually allegedly confessed to smoking the crack herself. Williams was arrested, and the 5-year-old girl in the vehicle was taken into protective custody. Further investigation determined that Williams is indeed a social worker — she’s a case manager at a substance abuse treatment center. (MS/Birmingham News) …When she tells her clients, “I know what you’re going through,” she’s not kidding

cocaine-powder on black background image www.druglinks.infoad3904750_1364237284_18246.png

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Henry Sapiecha

POLICE HUMOUR & JOKES-PICTURE THIS HOLD UP SITUATION

cartoon face & hand sketch moves points down animation www.policesearch.net

Can You Just Picture This? In Britain, guns were outlawed, so only outlaws have guns. Except for an unnamed 34-year-old man who attempted to rob a store in Cambridge, England. He apparently couldn’t get his hands on a real gun, so he threatened store staff that he would kill them — while holding up a photograph of a gun. The clerks didn’t feel terribly threatened: they called police, who quickly apprehended the man. Officers didn’t think he was much of a threat to society either: “He was released on police bail,” a police spokesman said, and ordered him to return to face charges in two months. (RC/Cambridge News) …The indigent man was promised appropriate counsel — a photograph of a lawyer.

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Henry Sapiecha

POLICE HUMOUR & JOKES-DON’T MESS WITH OLD PEOPLE

cartoon face & hand sketch moves points down animation www.policesearch.net

HOW TO CALL THE POLICE
WHEN YOU’RE OLD
AND DON’T MOVE FAST ANYMORE.

man hat moustache with hat image www.policesearch.net
Phillip Hewitson, an elderly man, from Norwich UK, was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he’d left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. Phillip opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked “Is someone in your house?”

He said “No,” but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me.

Then the police dispatcher said “All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available.”

Phillip said, “Okay.”

He hung up the phone and counted to 30.

Then he phoned the police again.

“Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well you don’t have to worry about them now because I just shot them.” and he hung up.

Within five minutes, Six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the Hewitson`s’ residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the Policemen said to Phillip, “I thought you said that you’d shot them!”

Phillip said, “I thought you said there was nobody available!”

(True Story) I LOVE IT!
Don’t mess with old people

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Henry Sapiecha

WHAT DO RUSSIANS REALLY THINK OF THEIR POLICE FORCE?

RUSSIAN POLICE OFFICER WITH FLOWERS image www.policesearch.net

MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. Russian police, as follows from the findings of the latest opinion poll, are far more polite than one could expect them to be years ago.

According to a VTSIOM poll published on Friday, more than a half of the questioned — 56% — trust the police. 13% have full confidence and 43% trust the law enforcers to a certain extent.

In the meantime, 41% claim that Interior Ministry personnel do not deserve trust (27% do not quite trust them and 14% feel no trust towards police at all). Moscow and St. Petersburg have the largest shares of those distrusting police — 53%.

Of all qualities of Russian police displayed over the past two years that deserve criticism the respondents most often mentioned rudeness and lack of tact (11%). These days such complaints have become far rarer than five years ago (18% in 2009). Another 6% recall cases of brutality. Abuse of office for self-serving purposes by some police deserves criticism in the opinion of 7% of those polled. Others witnessed refusal to accept complaints (6%), extortions and bribe-taking (6%) and statistics rigging. As many as 69% said they have never seen anything of the sort in contrast to 62% five years ago.

58% of the polled believe that assistance from police to individuals in addressing their problems is insignificant. 21% of the questioned (35% of poorly educated and 29% of rural residents) have noticed changes for the better in the operation of Interior Ministry units and offices. 13% do not like the performance of Russian police. They argue that harm done by policing outweighs benefits.

The VTSIOM poll was conducted on November 1-2. It encompassed an audience of 1,600 in 45 territories of Russia. The error margin was no higher than 3.5%.

Henry Sapiecha

Cops TV show crew member killed by friendly fire

A still from a video released by the Omaha Police Department showing the armed robber shooting at police image www.policesearch.net

A crew member for the TV show Cops died after he was shot by friendly fire while filming an episode for the long-running reality series in Omaha, Nebraska.

A television cameraman filming the reality TV series Cops has been shot and killed during a shootout with an armed robber.

Authorities said the crew from the long-running reality TV series was filming a police unit Omaha, Nebraska, when gunfire was exchanged with an armed robber outside a Wendy’s restaurant.

Police said two people were hit in the crossfire, the suspect and the Cops cameraman. The cameraman has been identified as Bryce Dion, a 38-year-old resident of the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica.

crew member for Cops was killed in a police shooting in Omaha image www.policesearch.net

A still from a video released by the Omaha Police Department showing the armed robber shooting at police. Photo: Supplied

In an exchange on police radio aired on US television, a police office is heard to say: “We’ve got a Cops cameraman hit, [a] white male, he’s not conscious, he’s slightly breathing.”

Another officer says: “We have one of the Cops guys, [he] has been hit by gunfire.”

Killed Bryce Dion image  www.policesearch.net

Initially, police confirmed the robbery suspect had been killed in the exchange of gunfire but made no comment on the condition of Dion.

Media reports in the US later confirmed Dion had died from his injuries.

In a tragic footnote to the incident, police said the armed robber was only carrying an “air gun”, a small low-impact sidearm which resembles a real gun.

Langley Productions, which produces Cops, said in a statement the company was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Dion’s death.

“Our main concern is helping his family in any way we can,” the company said.

“Bryce Dion was a long term member of the Cops team and a very talented and dedicated person.

“We mourn his passing. An investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with local authorities.”

ooo

The reality series, which was a mainstay of the Fox network for more than two decades, is now aired on the cable channel Spike. It launched in 1989.

The series places crews with police units in various jurisdictions across the US. This particular crew had been filming police work in Omaha, Nebraska, since early July.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said 38-year-old Bryce Dion was shot once during a shootout between three officers and one suspect in a Wendy’s.

“It is as if we lost one of our own,” Chief Schmaderer said. “He was an incredible man.”

Dion, who is also an audio technician, had been working with Omaha police on the show since June, police said.

Police said the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, shot at officers with an airsoft pistol and was subsequently shot and killed.

The shooting happened about 9.20pm when multiple rounds were fire by the three officers during the incident, Chief Schmaderer said.

Although the two-man crew did have on bulletproof vests, the bullet was able to hit an unprotected area on Dion, Chief Schmaderer said.

Both Washington and Dion were pronounced dead when they arrived at the hospital.

Dion had been with the show for seven years, said Morgan Langley, who is the head of Langley Productions with his father, John.

Dion was a single man from the Boston area who was recently promoted within the company, Morgan Langley said.

“We want to make sure Bryce is respected, and we want people to know he was a great guy and a hard worker,” Morgan Langley said.

“We train our guys and do provide them bulletproof vests,” he said.

John Langley said Cops is a true reality show, meaning “it happens as it happens.”

“That is our highlight and our low light,” he said.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Among the longest-running series in TV history, Cops was part of the first batch of shows to launch the reality programming craze.

The series premiered in March 1989 at a time when the then-young Fox network was on the prowl for edgy programs that could help establish its identity.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, among others, has criticised the show for selectively focusing on crimes involving poor and working-class suspects. The show’s opening theme, the reggae tune Bad Boys, has become instantly recognisable.

Fox cancelled Cops in 2013 and it was subsequently picked up by the Spike cable network.

– with MCT

Henry Sapiecha

EX DETECTIVE MAKES PLEA FOR A FINE IN LIEU OF JAIL FOR PASSING ON RESTRICTIVE INFORMATION

A former West Australian detective who unlawfully accessed and passed on information from a restricted police information system should not be jailed, his defense lawyer argues.

judge gavel image www.po;icesearch.net

Carl Salvatore Casilli is charged with one count each of communicating interception warrant information to another person, unlawful use of a computer in any case, unlawfully supplied an audiovisual recording of an interview, and 14 counts of without authorisation operates a restricted access system.

The offenses occurred between 2008 and 2013.

Perth Magistrates Court heard on Monday that Casilli passed the information to a female lawyer with whom he was having a personal relationship.

The state argued some incidents “went beyond doing a favour for someone” and undermined ongoing investigations.

“The offender knew quite well that not only was this conduct unethical, but plain illegal,” prosecution lawyer James MacTaggart said.

He said the intercept warrant affidavit contained confidential information about a person who was not a client of the female lawyer, and such action was “grossly illegal”.

Magistrate Elizabeth Woods said that offence was probably the most serious.

Defence lawyer Nick Lemmon said he accepted the intercept warrant offence was “in another category” and worthy of instant dismissal.

But other offences, such as passing on a video of an interview for the female lawyer’s training purposes was an example of a less serious transgression, he said.

Mr Lemmon disputed the claim Casilli had compromised police investigations and said information had not been accessed for the purpose of benefit.

Noting the repetition of the conduct and Casilli’s position of trust, he said the former detective should rather be substantially fined.

He said the offences occurred when Casilli was involved in and obsessed with the hunt for the killer of Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney.

He will be sentenced on July 15.

Henry Sapiecha