Another Queensland police officer charged with computer hacking

A 39-year-old senior constable is due to appear in court on August 14 on charges of computer hacking and unauthorised use of information.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

A regional Queensland police officer has been charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) for allegedly accessing and disseminating confidential information from the state's police database.

The 39-year-old senior constable, now tasked with non-operational duties, is due to appear in Warwick Magistrates Court on August 14, 2017.

The senior constable is the latest in a lineup of officers to be accused of improper access and use of confidential data.

In June, 31-year-old Brisbane-based police officer was charged by the CCC for allegedly accessing the state's criminal records database on 10 unauthorised occasions.

According to the CCC, the police officer from the Brisbane Police Prosecution Corps undertook checks on the Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange (Qprime) for personal purposes.

A 43-year-old senior constable from State Crime Command was similarly charged for allegedly misusing Qprime on 10 occasions in May 2016.

Another police sergeant was fined in May last year for 80 instances of unauthorised Qprime access, although 40-year-old Steven Patrick Wright walked away with a AU$4,000 fine and no conviction recorded.

Wright pleaded guilty to one charge of computer hacking after it was revealed he had used the system to access the personal details of friends and Australian netball captain Laura Geitz.

On another occasion, a Queensland police officer was charged for alleged unauthorised access and disclosure of confidential information accessed via Qprime in June last year. The CCC sent the 47-year-old sergeant from the Brisbane region to court on three counts of misconduct in relation to public office, and three alternative charges of computer hacking and misuse.

Being charged and convicted of various criminal offences under the Queensland Criminal Code, including official corruption and computer hacking and/or misuse, can carry penalties of imprisonment for up to 10 years.

From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, 4,308 allegations involving the Queensland Police Service were made to the CCC and 11 percent of those related to the misuse of information, the CCC said.

The corruption watchdog considers the misuse of information to include accessing or disclosing official information without a legitimate reason; unintentionally disclosing official information; falsifying information or records; acquiring or retaining information or records illegally; and/or inadequately safeguarding information.

Half of the Queensland Police Service's misuse of information allegations involved the unauthorised access of information during the 12-month period.

In June, it was announced that the CCC would receive a AU$31.6 million funding boost over five years to expand and upgrade existing audio visual capability in the criminal justice system, as part of Queensland's 2017-18 Budget.

The CCC said it will also be continuing its paper services digitisation, and will be evaluating new commercial technologies for potential benefits in reducing the impact of increasing demand on Justice Services.

This follows the 2016-17 establishment of an independent Crime Statistical Body to deliver criminal justice statistics, research, and evaluation.

With AAP

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