Professor Michael Kennedy of the University of Western Sydney College says proper vetting of moonlighting federal police should have been addressed before now. Photo: University of Western SydneyHundreds of Australian Federal Police are moonlighting in second jobs, some of which are considered high risk due to potential conflicts of interest or corruption, with officers not being subjected to adequate checks and balances, an official audit report has found.
The audit documents, obtained by Fairfax Media have revealed that about one in 10 AFP staff, including officers from counterterrorism command, intelligence, serious and organised crime operations have applied for secondary employment approvals. And the number is growing.
The audit, which was finalised in October, found that “members engaged in certain activities outside the AFP expose themselves and the AFP to sometimes significant or even high risk”.
While current AFP policies and procedures provide a level of protection, they are inefficient and not always complied with, the audit found.
The checks and balances system for high-risk second jobs “may not be subject to sufficient control”. Complaints had been made by members of the public or other AFP staff about AFP members working in what were found to be undeclared and unapproved secondary employment, it said.
The second jobs were only broadly categorised as sales/retail/services, volunteer, defence, education, sport, clerk or other and the most staff applying for second job approval were from ACT policing, the human resources division, aviation, protection, operations support and serious and organised crime, the audit showed.
A spokesman for the AFP said the audit was an opportunity to “further strengthen the organisation’s approach to managing secondary employment of AFP members”.
The AFP continues to educate members about their obligation to report secondary employment, but “the identification of a failure to report secondary employment will result in a referral to the AFP’s professional standards for investigation”, he said.
Professor Michael Kennedy, a former NSW detective and a policing academic at the University of Western Sydney College, said “in this era of counterterrorism which is directly linked to organised crime, the issue of second jobs can lead to all sorts of problems and conflicts of interest if not vetted properly”.
“You would think that proper vetting would be something that would be have been sorted out a long time ago,” he said.
The audit carried out last year, was sparked by an Australian Commission on Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) anti-corruption investigation into an AFP officer working in the armoury. The investigation by ACLEI, which is the corruption watchdog for the AFP and Australian Crime Commission, cleared the employee of corruption, but identified serious issues with the AFP’s oversight of staff taking up secondary employment and declaring conflicts of interest.
The internal audit was subsequently unable to determine exactly how many AFP staff may have had approvals to work in second jobs that were on a so-called “not recommended list” because of issues with record-keeping and information exchange between two data management systems used by the AFP – the SAP system used by human resources and the Promis system, which records investigations and operational information.
The “not recommended list” includes jobs working for security, liquor, transport, gaming/vice industries, private or commercial inquiry agents, tow-truck drivers, government agencies, debt collection or other law enforcement agencies.
The report concluded that the process for seeking approval, advice and recording the arrangements is cumbersome, resources-intensive and not cost-effective.
Staff interviewed for the October audit also expressed frustrations with the “manual” nature of the processes used by the AFP for the vetting process. It was reported that attempts to upgrade to an automated solution had been proposed but did not go ahead because of lack of funding.
The audit found that the processes and systems are in need of overhaul and made four recommendations but the AFP has not released them.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.