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 on: January 16, 2018, 09:12:57 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Call for secret search warrants lashed by civil libertarians, security experts

Federal investigators want the power to secretly search homes and workplaces, saying the rise of new technology such as message encryption and cryptocurrencies is making it harder to root out corruption and other serious crimes.

As critics warned against parliamentarians approving an "outrageous" increase in police powers, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity has told an inquiry that the use of delayed notification search warrants should be widened because conventional surveillance techniques are becoming easier to evade.

So-called "sneak and peek" warrants are limited to terrorism investigations for the Australian Federal Police, Victorian, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory police. NSW Police can additionally use them for serious crimes that carry a sentence of at least seven years' jail, including murder, drug manufacturing, money laundering and fraud.

The warrants allow officers to search a suspect's premises and seize evidence without needing to tell the owner or occupier for months or years, if at all, to avoid tipping them off that they are being investigated. In some cases, police can enter a neighbouring premises to gain access to the suspect's home or workplace.

The secretive ACLEI is responsible for investigating corruption and misconduct across federal law enforcement agencies, including the AFP, Australian Border Force, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and anti-money laundering regulator AUSTRAC. It is the closest the Federal government has to an anti-corruption watchdog.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry looking at how advances in computer and communications technology are hampering law enforcement's ability to carry out investigations, ACLEI said it relied on covert means to gather evidence but the task was getting harder.

"Many of the potential challenges for law enforcement investigation capability arising from new and emerging ICT-encryption, multiple data storage platforms, dark web, cryptocurrency, social media and messaging apps have been broadly referred to as 'going dark'," the submission said.

ACLEI said the government's metadata retention regime for telecommunications companies had been an important step for investigations but it believed the introduction of delayed notification search warrants merited consideration.

"Since corruption thrives on secrecy – and law enforcement corruption thrives on insider knowledge to hide tracks and avoid detection – a DNSW regime would be a particularly valuable means of ACLEI obtaining information covertly, especially when the effectiveness of ICT surveillance methods may become more limited in future," the submission said.

ACLEI's request has sparked a fierce response, with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's head of border security, John Coyne, saying it was an outrageous power grab.

"It just arms them as a secret police against our police," said Dr Coyne, a former federal police officer.

"Our law enforcement does a lot in this country. Are we willing to subject them to more intrusive checks on their privacy?"

Dr Coyne said the success in targeting crooked cops and other law enforcement officers suggested watchdogs had enough powers to do their jobs as it is.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks said he was concerned about the possibility of "function creep" with more and more law enforcement agencies pushing to use secret warrants.

"It's always disturbing when powers are given to agencies for terrorism, then another agency says they would like to use those for something else," he said.

"That is a problem with not drawing a line in the sand that says some powers are just too dangerous to be given to government agencies."

A spokesman for new Attorney-General Christian Porter said the government would consider the issue when the inquiry's final report was complete.


 on: January 15, 2018, 10:45:30 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Vaughan Hildebrand: Ex-cop accused of raping, harassing and stalking vulnerable women

FOURTEEN rape charges have been added to a long list of accusations including sexual harassment, stalking and soliciting child pornography against a former Sydney police officer.

A dozen women have now accused ex-constable Vaughan Hildebrand of more than 50 sickening offences.

The 29-year-old from Campbelltown remains behind bars after being twice refused bail.

Many of the allegations came to light after The Daily Telegraph reported Hildebrand had first been charged with 17 offences, mostly of harassing and stalking three women.

Another seven women came forward with accusations against Hildebrand and he was charged with another 16 offences including sexual­ assault and using a carriage service­ to solicit child pornography.

More recently another two women came forward, one who accused Hildebrand­ of raping her repeatedly in 2010.

He faces 14 charges of sexual intercourse­ without consent relating to that woman, among a further 18 charges laid against him.

In total he faces 51 charges for offences­ which allegedly occurred between­ 2010 and 2016.

Among those are a total of 15 charges­ of sexual­ intercourse without consent, 12 counts of using a carriage service to harass and intimidate, six counts of stalking or intimidating with the intention of causing physical fear, one count of misconduct in public office­, and three counts of using a carriage­ service to solicit child pornography­.

Police allege Hildebrand used restricted police data and several social media accounts and phones to haunt his victims, and in one case pretended to be a plastic surgeon to obtain a picture­ of a woman’s breasts.

Many of the offences are alleged to have occurred when Hildebrand was a constable at Sydney City local area command, including blackmailing and harassing female colleagues with their naked photographs.

Hildebrand — who can be seen whipping attack dogs on a YouTube video he posted — was arrested last June.

He is in protective custody­ and has been “tormented” in jail, according to his lawyer.

Police will allege that Hildebrand accessed restricted data on a police computer last January, which sparked an internal investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Command.

After his arrest, he was suspended without pay but resigned from NSW Police Force in October.

Hildebrand allegedly targeted vulnerable­ women and, in two cases, after obtaining pictures of their breasts, he threatened to publish the images unless they sent him more explicit photos. In one case he allegedly threatened­ a woman and said he would contact her partner and publish images he had obtained of her.

Police have not ruled out the possibility of laying further charges.

Hildebrand will next face Central Local Court on February 15.


 on: January 15, 2018, 10:34:55 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Queensland Opposition vows to abolish covert speed cameras

THE state Opposition has vowed to abolish covert speed cameras if it wins the next state election.

It comes after the Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers called on the State Government to ditch unmarked or unmanned camera trucks, vans and trailers.

LNP treasury spokesman Tim Mander yesterday accused the government of treating Queenslanders like “cash cows” and promised to abolish covert speed cameras.

“Making drivers feel like they have been trapped by a speed camera does nothing to achieve road safety outcomes,” he said.

“The LNP will sign all speed cameras, we will get rid of covert cameras and Labor’s revenue raising.”

Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating, who heads the Road Policing Command, pointed to independent reviews which suggested there was a good balance in Queensland between overt and covert speed camera programs.

He said no officers in the traffic branch had raised concerns with him about covert cameras.

“I strongly believe in the effectiveness of the covert cameras in balance with the overt program,” he said.


 on: January 15, 2018, 06:13:23 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Sniff test: Berejiklian government to swab drivers for cocaine after police pressure

Coalition’s move follows months of lobbying from NSW police, who say test will improve road safety

Drivers in New South Wales will be subject to roadside tests for cocaine, the latest addition to the state’s mobile drug testing regime.

Guardian Australia understands it will come as part of a broader road safety policy announcement. News Corp reported that the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, would announce the new tests on Monday.

In NSW police are currently able to conduct roadside tests for cannabis, amphetamines and methamphetamine or “ice”, and MDMA. The tests itself – a saliva swab – will not need to be changed to test for cocaine.

The move comes after months of lobbying from NSW police. Earlier in January the state’s police commissioner said roadside cocaine testing would have a “positive outcome on the road toll and road safety”.

But statistics suggest cocaine is not a major contributor to roadside deaths caused by drugs and alcohol. According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, cocaine was associated with 11 road fatalities between 2012 and 2016, compared with almost 300 associated with cannabis, ecstasy and ice.

There were 393 deaths on NSW roads in 2017, the worst result in seven years. The December period saw a number of crashes involving multiple fatalities, including 22 deaths across the country in the fortnight leading up to Christmas.

Annabelle Falkholt, 21, died in a crash on the NSW south coast that also killed her parents and another driver on Boxing Day. Her sister, the actor Jessica Falkholt, remains in a critical condition after having her life support switched off last week.

The high December death toll has focused attention on road safety laws, despite coming at the end of a year in which the road toll across the country reached near-record lows.

The number of deaths per 100,000 people fell to 4.92 in the 12 months to the end of November, which is close to the all time low of 4.9 set in 2014.


 on: January 14, 2018, 07:24:42 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Police call for hidden speed cameras to be removed

QUEENSLAND’S frontline cops have called for an end to “sneaky” covert speed cameras they say the public see as simply cash cows for the State Government.

Police union boss Ian Leavers said his officers were tired of suffering abuse as “revenue raisers” and has called on the State Government to ditch the unmarked or unmanned camera trucks, vans and trailers and put more police on the roads.

The police appeal has been backed by the state’s peak motoring body, the RACQ, which said its members hate the hidden cameras which drivers believe just put cash in government coffers.

The state’s fleet of 18 covert cameras snapped 106,000 unhappy drivers last financial year, compared to 163,000 from marked cameras, contributing $132 millions in traffic camera fines to government coffers.

With the state’s cameras at their worst picking up a fine as often as every 39 cars passing them, there’s little escape for Queensland motorists.

Mr Leavers wrote to both sides of politics during the election campaign asking for a commitment for no more unmarked or unmanned speed camera vehicles or trailers.

“Police receive significant criticism from the public and are accused of being ‘revenue raisers’ when unmarked speed camera vans and unstaffed speed camera trailers are deployed,” Mr Leavers wrote to both Labor and LNP during the election campaign.

“We ask for a commitment to the end of using these ‘sneaky’ devices so that we can regain public confidence.”

Mr Leavers said police wanted a commitment “not to introduce any more unstaffed speed cameras, nor to introduce any more covert unmarked speed camera cars, trucks and vans.

“Essentially we are asking for all mobile speed cameras, vans, trailers, cars and trucks to be staffed by police at all times and to be clearly marked with police decals,” Mr Leavers said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan this week pushed the question of ending the cameras to QPS but said there were no plans to take them off the road.

“The deployment of speed cameras is strictly an operational matter for police and the QPS has indicated there is no plan to phase out the use of unmarked mobile speed cameras,” a spokeswoman said.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports the hard work our police do every day on our streets to enforce the speed limits and other road rules that demonstrably save lives.

“There have been too many fatal crashes caused by speed and we are committed to providing police with the resources they need to prevent these tragic accidents.

“The Palaszczuk Government has committed to not civilianising or outsourcing policing duties.”

The QPS said it “has no plan to phase out the use of unmarked mobile speed cameras.”

“The use of unmarked mobile speed cameras is just one of a suite of measures employed by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) aimed at reducing the state’s road toll,” it said in a statement to The Sunday Mail.

dding to driver frustration, of the almost 500,000 fines collected in the 2016 calendar year, more than three-quarters, 373,000, were ‘mum and dad’ speeders in the lowest speeding bracket, doing 13kmh or less over the limit.

Point to point speed cameras, which the RACQ supports, picked up a far higher percentage of higher speeders, collecting 45 per cent of their fines for drivers doing 13kmh-20kmh over the limit.

The RACQ’s Steve Spalding said covert cameras derailed any road safety discussion because motorists believed they were simply revenue raisers.

He said the peak motoring body wanted more police on the roads because they didn’t just monitor speed but general driver behaviour.

Just the presence of a marked police car on the road slowed drivers down, he said.


RUSSIAN-born property developer and multi-millionaire businessman Lev Mizikovsky says speeding fines are doing Queensland police no favours.

The founder of Tamawood Homes and keen motorbike rider Mr Mizikovsky said police were relying on outdated technology to detect speeders.

Just this week, Mr Mizikovsky was given a speeding fine while riding his motorcycle along Ipswich Rd at Annerley. He said there was no way he was doing 75km/h in the 60km/h zone and is going to challenge it.

He said the speed-detection devices only told police officers a vehicle was over the limit, not which one.

If there was a motorbike rider like him among the traffic, they got the fine.

“When you are on a motorbike you automatically get the ticket,” Mr Mizikovsky said. “They have to judge who is getting the ticket and they judge it is the motorbike.”

Mr Mizikovsky said while his fine was not from a camera, he did not doubt they suffered from the same problems.

He echoed calls for the covert cameras to be dropped, saying it would help end criticism of police.


 on: January 09, 2018, 01:42:53 PM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Police accuse judges of giving criminals light sentences to avoid deportation

SOFT-TOUCH judges are handing down lower sentences to foreign crooks so they can avoid deportation, leaving them in Australia to reoffend, according to the Police Federation of Australia.

It is calling for all violent criminals on visas to face deportation.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who has been strongly critical of the judiciary, said the allegations were concerning and he was considering the recommendation.

New figures also show half of the 1284 non-citizens deported last year were Kiwis.

PFA boss Mark Burgess said New Zealand police sources had told him more than half of those were reoffending within two years – though NZ authorities say it is closer to 30 per cent.

Under tough laws introduced in 2014 anyone in Australia on a visa who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison faces mandatory cancellation of their visa.

Mr Burgess, who heads up the organisation which represents 60,000 police in all states, said it was hearing anecdotal evidence from members that judges were handing down sentences of less than 12 months to avoid triggering the provision.

He said anyone convicted of violent crimes, such as carjacking, serious assault and home invasion, should be referred to the Department of Immigration for a review of their visa regardless of the penalty imposed by the courts.

“If nothing else, it would weed out of our community people who might be a threat to our citizens,” he said.

“If it’s happening and it appears perhaps it is ... we say if it’s a crime of violence it should be reviewed anyway.”

Last month The Courier-Mail revealed magistrate Joan White talked openly in court about ensuring Iranian refugee Behzad Bashiri did not lose his visa before giving him a suspended ­sentence.

Mr Dutton said it would be a concern if judges or magistrates were reducing sentences to avoid visa cancellations.

“Through the cancelling of visas held by criminals we have made Australia a safer place and the Government is happy to consider more recommendations to improve the law to make our citizens even safer,” he said.

Earlier this month he said judges should “reflect community standards”, while he has previously accused Labor-appointed judges of handing down soft sentences.

Queensland Chief Justice Catherine Holmes this month said parliamentarians should curb their criticism of controversial sentences or risk damaging the public’s confidence in the judiciary.

After New Zealand, the UK is the next highest country of origin for non-citizens facing deportation, with 137 British criminals facing deportation from Australia.

After this it is Vietnam with 48 and Sudan with 37 people facing visa cancellation due to crimes.


 on: January 07, 2018, 02:34:46 PM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
WA Police officers keep jobs despite criminal convictions

MORE than eight out of 10 WA cops convicted of crimes over the past several years have been allowed to keep their jobs.

An internal database obtained by The Sunday Times reveals 105 police officers were charged with 279 offences between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Of those, 79 officers ended up with convictions for 213 crimes.

Nearly 85 per cent of those officers were allowed to continue in the force. Of those charged and convicted, 13 resigned and five were sacked by the Police Commissioner in “loss of confidence” proceedings.

Many others received internal discipline including warning notices and “managerial action” which can involve reprimands, fines and demotion. The bulk of the 79 convicted cops (87 per cent) were fined by the courts for their transgressions.

Three officers were sent to prison for their crimes, including former cop Dean Matthew Tapper, who was jailed for two years in September 2015 for having sex with a girl under the age of 16.

Two cops were handed suspended prison terms.

Over the four years, four officers were charged with sex crimes against children, including a sergeant accused of indecent treatment of a child in January last year.

About a third of the officers convicted committed traffic crimes, including dangerous and careless driving and drink-driving offences, while 20 per cent were found guilty of illegally using a computer and 16 per cent now have criminal records for assaults.

The highest offending rank was senior constable (34 officers) followed by first class constable (29) and sergeant (18). Three senior sergeants faced charges while one commissioned officer was fined for driving in excess of 0.05 in 2015.

The charges laid against police includes endangering life, stalking, refusing a breath test, disorderly behaviour, restraining order breaches, stealing, assaulting and obstructing public officers.

Other charges ranged from driving without a licence, refusing to leave licensed premises, discharging a firearm, possessing a firearm while affected and pointing a firearm at a person to importing prohibited items, disclosing official secrets and obtaining property by deceit.

Last financial year, 18 officers were charged with offences, a significant drop from the 31 cops charged in 2013-14 and 35 in 2014-15.

Assistant Commissioner for professional standards Nick Anticich said “pro-active” measures such as more officer eduction, mandatory drug testing and improved checks and balances had helped reduce unprofessional behaviour within the police force.

“It is obviously disappointing when an officer, whose primary role is to enforce the law, is charged criminally,” he said.

But he said “not all cases necessitate a penalty’’.

“Some criminal behaviours are such that the officer’s continued employment is simply untenable, such as possessing or using illegal drugs ... officers who maintain the confidence of the commissioner can continue to do their duty in the community.”

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said police officers were held to a higher standard than the rest of the community, and noted the offending rate of 1.22 per cent within the force was lower than the Statewide rate of 1.77 per cent.

“Officers found guilty of a minor offence deserve a second chance and their employment should not be jeopardised if they simply make a mistake that does not call into question their integrity or honesty,” he said.


 on: January 04, 2018, 09:14:22 AM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Murderers still like knives, robbers continue to have a penchant for guns and burglars don't go anywhere without a mask and a pair of gloves.

The criminality may remain constant, but the pursuers are acutely aware that crooks are also rapidly changing the way they go about their crimes.

And they must follow.

The state's biggest band of investigators – the 1000 detectives based in squads within the State Crime Command – have just gone through rigorous change as senior police look to streamline operations.

The result is a reduction of 11 major crime squads to eight, including the introduction of the "super squad" to investigate all sex crimes and a specific team to battle cyber crime.

"With technological advances and globalisation, the landscape of crime has changed, and the NSW Police Force is evolving the way we target it – this is about providing the community with the best services possible," State Crime Commander Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon said.

"The new structure builds on our previous successes, and importantly, positions the command to address future crime challenges, as demonstrated by the establishment of a dedicated Cybercrime Squad.

"I am confident the new State Crime Command will provide a more agile, coordinated, and professional approach to major criminal investigation in New South Wales."

Assistant Commissioner Lanyon has himself spent years in the command – as a homicide squad detective, the head of the gang's squad and operations director before taking the top job a few months ago.

And he has overseen the abolition of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, known as MEOCS, and merged it with the Gangs Squad to create the Criminal Groups Squad.

Since the inception of MEOCS 11 years ago, and the Asian Crime Squad before that, the police have said that they focused on "the criminality not the ethnicity".

"But what we are seeing now is a real change in how these organised crime groups work," Assistant Commissioner Lanyon said.

"We now see considerable crossover between traditional groups.

"Take bikies for example. Traditionally they had a hierarchy and did not take in criminals of Middle Eastern or Asian background.

"Now, they will take anyone from any walk of life if they can add something to that criminal group."

The merging of the two sex crimes units had created a "super squad" of 280 detectives to help with a huge workload, which has been added to by increased reporting of historic child sex offences following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

And technological advances meant cyber crime would need its own dedicated unit.

"The squad is made up of both investigators and technical experts and they will be providing assistance right across the board, from organised crime to counter terrorism," Assistant Commissioner Lanyon said.

"It will definitely allow us to continue to develop technology-related strategies."

Former Organised Crime Squad commander Detective Superintendent Scott Cook will be the new head of homicide, replacing Mick Willing who has been promoted to lead counter terrorism.


 on: December 29, 2017, 08:27:56 PM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Daemon
It's not new here. I've been snapped a couple of times on the bike over the last couple of years by the mobile speed cameras set up on the side of the road. Have seen them often so I don't see why they say new.

 on: December 29, 2017, 06:41:58 PM 
Started by Prickle - Last post by Prickle
Rear-facing mobile speed cameras introduced in WA to target motorcycles for the first time

Technology has finally caught up with speeding motorcyclists in WA, bringing to an end their ability to evade the fleet of mobile speed cameras.

Until now motorcycles have been able avoid detection because they are not required to have front licence plates, due to an inability for them to be safely fitted.

Compounding the problem, technology hasn't been sophisticated enough to capture images of rear plates.

That has come to an end with WA Police revealing the first mobile speed cameras in the country that can take images from the front and rear — meaning speeding motorcyclists will be issued with infringements just like any other driver.

In recent years, only red-light speed cameras at selected intersections and some fixed speed cameras on the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways have had the capacity to capture images of rear licence plates.

Three of the new cameras are already operating on WA roads, with another 25 to be deployed by the end of June 2018.

A level playing field for motorists

WA Police Commander Scott Higgins said the new cameras were "pretty close" to being fool proof and a number of infringements had already been issued.

"There are people who think they can get away with speeding," he said.

    "We're saying to them, your chances of getting caught are much higher now.

"Up until now motorcyclists had been able to get away with speeding infringements.

"We know that motorcyclists are overrepresented in our fatal and serious crashes, so this new technology is hopefully going to reduce those numbers."

Police said the new cameras could clock speeds and capture images across six lanes of traffic.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the cameras would create a level playing field between drivers and motorcyclists.

"This is something we've wanted to address for years," she said.

    "We're the first state in Australia to take receipt of this particular technology and I couldn't be more pleased."

"It's been an inequitable situation between vehicle drivers and motorcyclists but it's also meant that some motorcyclists … have believed that they can just get away with speeding and there is no consequence.

"Sadly for many of them the consequence has been the loss of life or serious injury.

"This is about saving lives. If they're going 45 kilometres per hour or more over the limit they run the risk of having their motorcycle seized and being taken effectively off the road."

This year alone, 25 motorcyclists have died on WA roads, with another 19 seriously injured.


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