Words by: Paula Connell
Image credit: The West Australian Online.
West Australian Police are under fire today as allegations that a number of officers have accessed data on the police computer system on former West Coast Eagles players Daniel Kerr and Ben Cousins.
The West Australian online has reported that nearly 300 officers have accessed the police dispatch system to research updates on investigations concerning Cousins and Kerr. Both former West Coast players made headlines in March with unrelated incidents.
Stephen Brown, acting Police Commissioner announced yesterday that there would be an internal inquiry. He described the behaviour as disappointing by a “large number of police employees”.
The WA Police Union president George Tilbury told Radio 6PR that the inquiry is “heavy handed and over the top” and that there is “no suggestion of the criminal conduct” or “that any benefit has been gained”.
Tilbury further explained that the system only contains information about incidents that are currently in progress and no personal information is logged on the data system. Tilbury finished by stating that WA police are creating a dangerous scenario by investigating this path of “criminally charging hundreds of officers for just looking at a job on the police computer”
The repercussions for such charges see officers potentially facing up to 12 months imprisonment or a $12,000 fine for unauthorised computer usage. The penalties could rise further if the information is used to gain any benefit, cause detriment or used for a corrupt purpose, with police officers potentially facing a 10-year jail term.