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High-profile alert system on the cards to stop snooping cops exploiting restricted data

WA Police are looking at creating a list of high-profile Perth figures as part of an alert system aimed at stopping officers from misusing computer systems storing data on citizens.

Police have also launched a code-of-conduct review for officers and are reviewing how police use force after a series of episodes in which they were caught on camera using excessive force.

The WA Police annual report reveals the department put in place a computer access project after concerns arose about the number of officers and staff being charged with unauthorised access or misuse of restricted computer systems.

Police said they commissioned a study by Edith Cowan University’s Sellenger Centre on computer misuse, which made several IT recommendations including the creation of what was dubbed a “high-profile person warning register”, as well as officer self look-up warnings.

Last month, a WA police constable was stood down from operational duties and charged with unlawfully accessing a restricted computer system after an investigation by the internal affairs unit.

In 2016, a female police officer was fined after she used police computer systems to look up information about her husband and his brothers.

In 2014, former major crime squad detective Carl Salvatore Casilli was jailed for nine months for accessing classified WA Police files and passing them on to his lawyer lover.

No details were given of how the high-profile list might be created, or who might decide who would be deemed high profile.

A WA Police spokesman said the computer access project was an initiative to address the “ongoing issue” of some officers misusing restricted access computer systems.

Technical solutions are being considered and may include automated alerts to supervisors when suspect computer access occurs,” he said.

The annual report said its Personnel Security Vetting Unit processed more than 4000 integrity checks during the period on personnel and contractors to WA Police, with 151 checks “not supported”.

Police said its code-of-conduct review would ensure the organisation’s values reflected community expectations.

The annual report said a use-of-force review was put in place after social media footage surfaced showed officers who appeared to be using excessive force to subdue an offender.

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