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SA's top cop scoffs at police piracy claims

After reports alleged yesterday that "hundreds" of South Australian police had been sprung using their work computers to illegally download films, the state's Commissioner has refuted the accusations in a letter published today.
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Written by Marcus Browne on

After reports alleged yesterday that "hundreds" of South Australian police had been sprung using their work computers to illegally download films, the state's Commissioner has refuted the accusations in a letter published today.

Mal Hyde, South Australia's Police Commissioner, denied the claims in a letter published in Adelaide daily The Advertiser — the publication which reported the original allegations — this morning.

The paper quoted sources from within the force which said that due to the large number of officers under investigation in relation to the claims, no action would be taken against those found to have downloaded illegally or copied DVDs using office workstations.

"The claim that 'hundreds of police officers across South Australia caught using their work computers to illegally copy movie DVDs will escape prosecution' is not true," said Commissioner Hyde in his letter to The Advertiser.

"Police officers like any other member of the community are subject to the law. If breaches are detected they will be investigated, without exception," he said.

Hyde said the allegations arose after a system audit flagged files in some areas of South Australia's police system that "required examination", prompting the force's IT director to "remind" managers that copyright infringement is a criminal offence and recommend a focused audit of files.

"Some senior officers were briefed on potential copyright issues and agreed to an audit, however that audit is still to be completed," he said.

"Police officers remain one of the mostly highly accountable group of professionals in our community, and there is no question that due process is followed in each and every allegation," said the Commissioner.

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