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Dangerous Liaisons: A Report Arising From a CMC Investigation Into Allegations of Police Misconduct (Operations Capri)

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2009
139 pages
This report by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (Australia) derives from its investigation of police misconduct in the context of Operation Capri, which involved police officers' association with a dangerous criminal informant.
This investigation found that, overall a number of police officers involved in Operation Capri either failed to recognize or chose to ignore the risks and dangers posed by forming and conducting inappropriate relationships with informants, failing to properly manage experienced criminals, and failing to treat confidential police information with appropriate sensitivity. Police officers unlawfully diverted and directed others to unlawfully divert an informant's (Henderson) telephone calls. Officers accepted money and gifts from Henderson and intervened to have criminal charges against Henderson's associate discontinued, which involved lying to their superiors. Officers also provided confidential police information to Henderson, which he then conveyed to his associates. By failing to keep detailed diaries and official records as required, police officers made it impossible to refute the allegations of misconduct against them. Although the keeping of police notebooks, official diaries, and related records is mandated in departmental policy and procedures, noncompliance by the officers involved in Operation Capri was not rectified by supervisors. Senior-ranking police officers in the Queensland Police Service showed contempt for departmental policies and procedures to the extent of violating the law in order to achieve desired investigative outcomes. This report concludes that the ability of officers in Operation Capri to respond ethically to the various situations in which they found themselves was related more to the attributes of the department's organizational culture than to officers' individual attributes. Specifically, the organizational culture has promoted the belief that "the ends justifies the means" and that specialist squads are free to develop their own rules and standards of conduct. Officers should be schooled and monitored continuously to ensure departmental procedures are followed. 11 references and appended supplementary material