​Queensland police officer faces court for alleged misuse of cop database

The state's Crime and Corruption Commission has served a sergeant with a notice to appear in court for the alleged unauthorised use of a Queensland Police Service database.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has alleged that a Brisbane-based police officer accessed the state's criminal records database on 10 unauthorised occasions.

According to the CCC, the 31-year-old serving male sergeant from the Brisbane Police Prosecution Corps undertook checks on the Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange (QPRIME) for personal purposes.

On Tuesday, the CCC served the officer with a notice to appear in court for the alleged unauthorised access that occurred in 2016, and is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on June 19, 2017.

The officer is expected to face nine counts of computer hacking and misuse, and one count of abuse of office, which are both in breach of the Queensland Criminal Code.

A 43-year-old serving detective senior constable from State Crime Command was similarly charged in March for allegedly misusing QPRIME on 10 occasions in 2016.

The former policeman faced Southport Magistrates Court in April, defending the computer hacking charges.

Another police sergeant was fined in May for 80 instances of unauthorised Qprime access, which saw 40-year-old Steven Patrick Wright walk 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.

Another Queensland police officer was charged for alleged unauthorised access and disclosure of confidential information accessed via QPRIME in June last year, with the CCC sending 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.

It was the second incident in less than a month where a Queensland police officer was caught for allegedly accessing and releasing confidential data.

A 38-year-old constable, who was stood down, was served a notice by the CCC to appear in court regarding allegations that he inappropriately accessed and released confidential information from the state's police database in May 2016.

The officer was charged with one count of misconduct in relation to public office, and another of improperly disclosing information in breach of the Police Service Administration Act or alternatively 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 QPS 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.

50 percent of QPS misuse of information allegations were about the unauthorised access of information during the 12-month period.

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