Huge rise in suspended officers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 1994, 12:00am

THE number of police suspended for serious disciplinary reasons has soared this year by more than 40 per cent as force managers explore ways to soften the damaging impact of recent ICAC arrests.

Police figures reveal that 118 officers are currently under suspension - down from a peak of 132 in July.

But this is still way up compared to last year, when 83 police were considered unworthy to continue their official duties.

It is understood the figures have been circulated in the past few days to senior police in a move mirroring concern that adverse public opinion has flowed from recent negative incidents.

This comes ahead of planned discussions by force management on the past month's blitz by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which saw 19 police taken into custody on suspicion of bribery, vice protection and unauthorised secondary employment.

Last month, 32 officers were suspended from duty. In September, 10 officers were put on the interdiction list, and in July, 17 police were similarly classed.

'Of course they're a cause for concern,' said one police source. 'It's a substantial increase - also cause for much disappointment and many senior officers are clearly looking at this issue.

'But the question that has to be asked is whether the situation is actually growing worse. I think we can expect closer monitoring from the Operations Wing; a more hands-on approach.' It is believed the administration's concern over civil servants becoming engaged in second jobs, private investments and business ventures in China is also prompting police to consider looking at their procedures on conflict of interest.

Officers under suspension, some of whom have not worked for up to three years, receive full pay and regular benefits.

However, ICAC figures show, despite the sharp rise in suspensions, complaints of police corruption have increased by only about five per cent.

This is in line with statistics for private and public sector graft reports.