Incident: Victoria Police allegedly use LEAP database to pursue, stalk, harass women prompting calls for inquiry | ABC News Australia
Australian Privacy Incident, 15 December 2022
Victoria Police allegedly use LEAP database to pursue, stalk, harass women prompting calls for inquiry
In the past five years, there have been complaints against 178 police for misusing LEAP
The Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) is an online database that catalogues a person’s interactions with Victoria Police, including alleged crimes, family violence incidents, and missing persons reports.
Rachel Wilks was just 15 when Jayden Faure used his position as a police officer to try to pursue a relationship with her. Faure was not the officer responsible for investigating her case, so there was no official reason why Ms Wilks should contact him. What Ms Wilks didn’t know was that at the same time Faure was messaging her, he was also checking the details of one of her family members on the police LEAP database without any legitimate reason.
The ABC can reveal 178 police officers have faced complaints about the misuse of LEAP in the past five years. Of the complaints, 32 files remain active, 65 officers were disciplined, and no action was taken in relation to 79 officers while another eight were charged with misusing LEAP in that time.
Where no action was taken, the ABC understands the member has resigned or retired, the statute of limitations has been exceeded, or the complaint was withdrawn.
In 2019, Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog IBAC investigated unauthorised access of information held by Victoria Police. They found “information misuse remains widely misunderstood by both police and the community”. “This leads to it not being detected or reported,” the IBAC report said.
Victoria Police say they have “stringent measures” in place to ensure the proper use of LEAP, including keeping detailed records about how the system has been used indefinitely.