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Unauthorised access and disclosure of information held by Victoria Police

An analysis of corruption risks and prevention opportunities
Police Police power Data collection platforms Data protection Unethical conduct Victoria

The Victorian community rightly expects Victoria Police to protect and safeguard law enforcement data and official information it holds, and for employees to only use this information for a legitimate business need. When this data and information is accessed and disclosed without authorisation it compromises the safety of citizens and the community, and may constitute police misconduct or corruption. It can also enable further corruption and misconduct to occur.

This report provides an overview of the key risks associated with unauthorised access and disclosure of information by Victoria Police employees. It explores the drivers of these risks, as well as potential prevention, reporting and detection measures. This report focuses on Victoria Police and is one of three reports outlining the key risks of unauthorised access and disclosure of information within the public sector in Victoria. The other two reports focus on local government and state government bodies.

Police perform an important role in protecting the community, often in difficult situations when people are at their most vulnerable. To assist police in this role, they are given significant powers and the community rightly expects them to use these powers honestly, responsibly and to perform their duties fairly, impartially and always in accordance with the law. As part of this expectation, the community expects information held by Victoria Police to be secure and used appropriately. The protection of law enforcement data and official information and the accountability of police to manage this appropriately is essential for community confidence in the police, and for the safety of police employees, members of the community and other organisations.

This report discusses how the misuse of information or material by public officers, acquired in the course of the performance of their duties, may constitute corrupt conduct.

Police rely on information from the public to help keep the community safe. Any incident or series of incidents which undermine public confidence in Victoria Police’s ability to secure official information and law enforcement data is likely to have flow-on effects on the willingness of the public to provide information that assists police.

The protection of information held by Victoria Police is important for all members of the community. Victoria Police holds law enforcement data and official information ranging from personal details of criminal involvement, to addresses and contact details, as well as intelligence on people considered a threat to the community. This information, which can be sensitive and requires protection, must be handled in line with best practice approaches to information security.

IBAC’s role includes informing the public sector and community about the risks and impacts of corruption, and ways it can be prevented. IBAC’s intelligence and research reports such as this report, help public sector agencies to identify corruption, and to expose and prevent it.

This report was informed by an analysis of IBAC findings from investigations and research, consultation with Victoria Police, interstate and Commonwealth integrity bodies, and agencies responsible for information security, information management and privacy in Victoria.

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