THE Independent Commission Against Corruption has recorded a nine per cent drop in graft allegations. In the first nine months of this year, reports against the police fell by 13 per cent, from 481 to 420. And complaints in the private sector fell by 10 per cent from 1,399 to 1,254. But yesterday, ICAC head of operations Jim Buckle said it was premature to draw firm conclusions. He said the best yardstick of corruption was internal intelligence, which suggested police and public sector graft were rising, especially 'opportunistic' malpractice in junior ranks. 'We don't see any slackening at all, especially on the intelligence front,' said Mr Buckle. 'The more positive results operationally don't generally come from the public reports, but we have always read our own intelligence in conjunction with these reports.' Mr Buckle said part of the ICAC's 30-plus election taskforce had been diverted to deal with a backlog of private sector complaints. And this cleared the way for talks on transferring the ICAC's election work to the Boundary and Election Commission because poll probes are considered to be outside the agency's charter. Mr Buckle said it was likely investigators would be moved to business, police and China-related matters within six months. The ICAC has indicated a desire to rid itself of the election chore, saying it should be able to put staff on more important graft matters. No decision has been made on which authority will be given the task beyond 1997. Governor Chris Patten's policy address is unlikely to include new initiatives for the ICAC. Neither is it likely to do so for the police, despite concern about a steep rise in police crime and corruption. It is expected only to detail reforms outlined in the police study team reports for which finance is now available. It is doubtful the ICAC will receive additional resources but its progress in implementing recommendations flowing from a review committee's report last year will be detailed. Legislators believe the Governor should produce a vigorous blueprint for fighting graft and ensuring no exodus in senior police ranks. Liberal Party security spokesman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said Mr Patten had a duty to announce 'fairly concrete measures' to ensure confidence in the force.