Aussie Policemen Investigated for Internet Abuse on Duty?

A report arrived this week that twenty officers from the Midland 000 Emergency Communications Centre in Western Australia are facing an internal inquiry over alleged "widespread" internet abuse, which apparently included placing football bets, gambling on horse races and other sports, perusing internet dating sites, watching movies and shopping on eBAY while on duty at the emergency "nerve" centre.

A police insider said of the case that "there were people gambling, placing bets on horses and footy, tennis, you name it.”

It was stated by a spokesperson for the Western Australian Police Service that "It has been confirmed by our Police Operations Centre that investigations into certain incidents of inappropriate computer use were carried out and have now concluded".

The investigation into the cited breach of the WA Police Code of Conduct handbook which says inappropriate internet use includes accessing interactive games, downloading MP3 or similar files, downloading games and carrying out personal business on the internet such as share trading, began after a warning sent from an unnamed Assistant Commissioner to a senior constable stating that his internet use would be audited in relation to his access of online gambling websites amongst others.

In related news across the globe, a seven-officer Safer Neighbourhood Metropolitan Police Team in the Mottingham and Chislehurst North Ward of Bromley in the United Kingdom is experiencing a similar scrutiny of their conduct.

Namely, it was reported that all seven of them either resigned or were dismissed when it was found out that they had been playing backgammon and poker, watching TV, going for runs and failing to comply with the tasks they were expected to do on duty.

The Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Directorate of Professional Standards, which conducted an investigation into the case, found two members guilty of gross misconduct and criminal offences, dismissed a third, additionally charged another three with police misconduct, while four others resigned.

In its statement, the Metropolitan Police Service said: "The disciplinary panel heard evidence that officers from the team had played backgammon and poker whilst on duty, watched TV in the office, frequently failed to go out on patrol, had not worked full tours of duty and also claimed overtime that had not been worked.

“In addition, one officer had gone out for runs during the working day whilst a further officer cleaned his golf clubs in the office.

“These activities appear to have taken place at the expense of policing duties, such as patrolling the local area.”

It was added by Commander Allan Gibson, head of the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards, “These officers let the whole of the service down with their behaviour; but more importantly they let down their local community.

“There is no place for lazy attitudes in the MPS and those who are found to be failing in their duties will be held to account.”

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