Victoria Police officers fake more than 250,000 breath tests

An investigation has revealed a staggering number of breath tests have been falsified.

Victoria Police officers fake more than 250,000 breath tests

An internal investigation has revealed that over a five-year period more than 250,000 roadside breath tests were falsified by Victoria police officers.

Victoria Police were last year made aware of reports by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) of officers faking breath tests either by placing a finger over the straw or blowing into the breathalyser itself, in order to meet quotas.

Initial reviews of 1500 breath tests, then a further investigation of more than 1.7 million tests revealed that over 258,000 tests were faked.

“This conduct will not be tolerated, any member found engaging in this practice from today has been put on notice they will be investigated,” said Professional Standards Command Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett in a statement.

“We let ourselves down, we've let the community down. It stops now.”

Mr Barrett says he will appoint an internal investigator to look into the issue further.

“The investigation will examine how this behaviour was allowed to occur and what we can do to enhance and improve our operational practice into the future.”

It's understood that the fake tests were largely made by general duties and highway patrol officers, particularly in rural areas, not at official drug and alcohol sites.

“It is believed the self-testing activity has been largely undertaken by general duties and highway patrol members, with some rural areas over-represented,” said the statement.

“It is not a practice found to be performed at supervised drug and alcohol bus testing sites.”

Mr Barrett said he believed officers may have faked the test in order to boost quotas, and not to cover up any actual prosecutable offences.

“The question we all asked was why? There could be a number of reasons but the main rationale I believe is to hide or highlight productivity. Whatever reason our workforce may come up with, it isn't acceptable,” he said.

“As disappointing as this is, it should be noted that, at this stage in the investigation, there is no evidence to suggest fraud or any criminality has occurred.

“Similarly, there is nothing to suggest that any of this activity has impacted on any prosecutions.”

Mr Barrett said more oversight of preliminary breath testing would be put in place and that officers will attend ‘guidance sessions’.

Do these findings shock you? Is it a victimless crime or could it be a concerning indicator of a darker underlying culture in the force?

Update 10.12am: TAC has suspended $4 million in road safety funding as a result of the investigation's findings. 

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    COMMENTS

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    Oldpom63
    31st May 2018
    10:21am
    Why should police have “quotas” shurely if people are not offending as much in whichever crime category then thats good!
    the results should be praised not chastised as not reaching a “quota”
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    10:26am
    Exactly - it's part of 'police culture' - same as 'not dobbing in your mate for wrongdoing' - all honest police would be better served with an honest force.
    Couldabeen
    31st May 2018
    11:04pm
    Staffing levels at all Stations are based on perceived levels of crime or disturbance in that precinct. If there is no need to carry out breath tests because they see no-one drivering possibly DUI, Head Office will soon decide that that Station doesn't need as many Officers located there, or there is no need for overtime to be made available. Not so much a "hard" quota so much as showing that there was "policing" needing to be done.
    MICK
    1st Jun 2018
    10:33am
    How do you "fake" a test when you breath into a machine which then analyses the sample? Is this even possible?
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    10:25am
    Well, I never. One of the most intrusive and 'foot in the door' opportunities created by state governments to set about reducing the power in society of the many by creating of them 'instant' or 'created criminals, is now found to be a cheat?

    I wonder why that would be??? Is it just part of the ages-old thuggery of 'our' police when it comes to dealing with (and on) ordinary people (just 'cause they can)- or is it a more sinister thing - a matter of policy to garner revenue and make ordinary folk into bad guys so they can be rubbished if they stand for election etc?

    Long ago I put together a thing about the trend towards 'created crimes' (such as being a drunk driver at two schooners when zero serious accidents occur at that level -that's what you get for relying on 'experts' and 'social science researchers') and 'created criminals' under our rather benighted governments - consider the list for yourselves.

    It seems that the Woodie Guthrie comment that some rob you with a six-gun and others with a fountain pen needs to now read - some rob you with a six gun, others with a breath tester........
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    1:22pm
    Bravo, Trebor! All true. Revenue-raising is certainly a factor.
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    1:49pm
    Yeah - but it seems I got it wrong (glooms) - rather than fudging figures, these cops were just pretending to have done their number per day instead of actually doing them.

    Doesn't mean some figures weren't fudged to 'get' some people, though.

    Stands to reason that a limit of two beers = 0.05%, the lowest standard in the world and one at which nothing suggests an increase in road toll, could not be anything but revenue raising and power reduction for the Joe Average.

    Imagine Joe standing for election as an aggrieved citizen - out comes the sludge attack - oh, yes - but Joe was a criminal drink driver, folks, and on top of that had an argument with his missus once.... very violent history....

    That latter is what comes of diminishing the value of words like 'violence' and permitting police to constantly make unsupported claims of 'assault' and similar - people can be and often are labeled 'violent' without reason... can't tell me that's not a deliberate ploy to reduce the power of any aggrieved individual.
    mogo51
    31st May 2018
    10:26am
    lAs a former Police Officer, I am far from surprised by thee revelations. As I was leaving the Police Service there was pressure occurring to produce numbers especially relating to traffic matters such as these. Whilst I have been away from this field for a considerable time, I know that the demands and expectations have only risen, adding further pressure on rank and file Police Officers.
    The real villians here are not these Police Officers, but the new breed Academic Police who permeate the Service of all Police Forces Australia wide. They Promote a Police State, introducing new enforcement measures and further reducing the freedoms of the public. Big Brother of course at the helm is the various State and Federal Governments.
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    10:27am
    Well said, Mogo.
    Sen.Cit.90
    31st May 2018
    10:51am
    It's a pity Mogo that many of the general public have lost respect for the Police, disrespect mostly brought on by the traffic police.
    Adrianus
    31st May 2018
    1:03pm
    There is no reason to lose respect for the police, they perform as instructed.
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    1:24pm
    @Adrianus. "There is no reason to lose respect for the police, they perform as instructed."

    So did the SS guards in Auschwitz.
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    1:53pm
    Told yez yesterday - police take the SS oath - to uphold the law as written - meaning that rather than being servants of the Crown, they are servants of the current government, and any government can and sometimes does create wrongful laws, as occurred in NAZI Germany etc, and as occurs here as well.

    The judiciary take a different oath - to do right by all persons equally under Law (not law, BTW), and are thus theoretically servants of the Law and through Law of the Crown...

    I wonder if Her Maj would tolerate some of the garbage that goes on in parliaments and courts these days....
    Adrianus
    1st Jun 2018
    9:38am
    I don't think you can compare Victoria with NAZI Germany. Not yet anyway. But the law is one thing which is often different from an interpretation of its lawful meaning.
    Adrianus
    1st Jun 2018
    9:54am
    By the way, Knows a lot. You can change cultures and sub cultures within an organisation from the top down. We saw what happened with ASIC when the Labor Party member was wheeled in. It appears though, this is the Victoria Victorians want. Where you sit down at a restaurant to bite into a juicy steak moments before a group of idiots try to get it back to your plate. Then you saunter down the street to assist your digestive process only to wake up in hospital with a broken rib and fractured eye socket.
    You switch on the news from your hospital bed to hear that the police are not aware of these gangs but will try to negotiate with them rather than arrest them for breaking the law.
    Adelaide police said recently that a serial killer was living freely in Victoria. The suspected serial Killer denies both those allegations of course.

    Melbourne is the fastest growing city in the country. But who are these people now calling Melbourne home?
    neil
    31st May 2018
    11:16am
    WOW, how can these police officers lie straight in bed at night!!!!
    There are NO excuses, we all know what is right and wrong quotas or no quotas, stand up for what's right and be counted, respect your fellow citizens otherwise we will end up where we are heading.
    This article does not make a lot of sense as it says - “Similarly, there is nothing to suggest that any of this activity has impacted on any prosecutions.” how can this be true if my test was falsified and I was charged and fined when I was not really over the limit I then have a charge against me that has many ramifications, HMMMMM
    Eddy
    31st May 2018
    12:48pm
    If you read the allegations more closely Neil you would find it was police officers breath-testing themselves to increase the number of RBT carried out, ie to meet their quota. There was no suggestion that anyone has been falsely accused of DUI.
    Nevertheless I fully support RBT and speed cameras. If these measures discourage drink impaired persons from driving or speedsters from flouting speed limits then it is, to my mind, a good thing. I suspect the only people who complain about 'revenue raising' are the very people these measures are meant to discourage. I have been 'done' for speeding a few times in my life and I can categorically state I was 'guilty' in every instance. I have never been 'fined' when I knew I was not infringing.
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    1:29pm
    Eddy, I do not support speed cameras. They are revenue-raisers used in areas where speed limits are set too low. I have sped where and when safe to do so, for decades, and never caused an accident. Accidents are caused by incompetence, inattention and fatigue far more than speed.
    neil
    31st May 2018
    2:05pm
    Thanks Eddy, you are right in correcting me and I agree with your comments
    Triss
    31st May 2018
    5:56pm
    So what names went on the quota sheets if they were breathalising themselves?
    Eddy
    31st May 2018
    11:56pm
    Triss, I have been breath tested many times, when I recorded negative on their hand held machine I have always been politely thanked and sent on my way. They have never asked my name or requested to see my licence. The only record they probably have is the number of disposable mouthpieces expended and/or a data logger incorporated in their machine.
    Know-a-lot, while I concur many speed limits may seem inappropriate I still try to comply with all speed limits for two main reasons. (1) it is not worth the fine or demerit points if one is detected speeding, and (2) I would hate to cause another person harm simply because I lacked the self control to comply with road rules, including speed limits.
    HarrysOpinion
    31st May 2018
    11:20am
    When quotas are imposed on RBT police to meet targets, creative minds, under pressure, will come up with constructive means of deception to achieve targets.
    Why would anyone impose RBT quotas and demand achievement of such target? Is it to achieve a government budget financial gain (allocation) for the police finance administration to cover the cost of its resources? If so, are not false reports a characteristic of financial gain by deception, which is a criminal offence?
    arbee
    31st May 2018
    12:10pm
    A bit hard to blame them, after all they are only copying what the Victorian government does, lie, cheat and be dishonest all of the time. Only copying the boss.
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    1:34pm
    I'm sure it's rampant Australia-wide - particularly where incompetent Lieberal governments hold sway.
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    12:16pm
    Ah - just reading a different report - it seems they've more faked doing tests, rather than cheating on them.

    31st May 2018
    12:44pm
    This can be traced back to governments of various levels demanding that"something be done" about ..........(fill in the flavour of the month)............ and police bosses say they will provide statistics to show that "something has been done". Sure, drunk drivers are breaking the law but setting up for an hour to test a sample of those who drive by should be all that is needed. Can you imagine how boring it must be to stand in the one spot, knowing that the word is out and drinking drivers have probably bypassed the checkpoint on a secondary road? It's not as if they let drunks off, they just went back to other duties more quickly.
    Adrianus
    31st May 2018
    1:04pm
    Is that the same with the random assaults in the Melbourne CBD which go unreported?
    RayL
    31st May 2018
    12:49pm
    It says more about management unrealistic quotas then it does about the operational police officers.
    Adrianus
    31st May 2018
    1:00pm
    When is the next election in Victoria?

    31st May 2018
    1:19pm
    Typical pigs. They're too dumb to get a real job or be successful criminals. Anybody who seeks to lord it over others by virtue of wearing a uniform is one sick individual: police.
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    2:06pm
    The successful criminals are in the unions and labor party
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    5:19pm
    .. and the Liberal and National parties...
    Couldabeen
    31st May 2018
    11:18pm
    Psychometric testing actually weeds out the type of personality that you are alluding too. No Australian State Police Service wittingly continues with the enlistment of applicants who have the attitude that you suggest.
    There are far more roles carried out by enlisted Officers than beating criminals at their own game.
    Unfortunately even in suburban Stations, Officers soon find that to solve even simple break and enters, they have to become friends with those who live that life as a normal practice.
    Spend some time with the average officers in the field and you soon find that there are too many members of the public with your attitude to officers who really are trying to make a positive difference in the community.
    jamesmn
    31st May 2018
    2:36pm
    are the police who have falsified these results going to be charged and what about if someone has lost their licence when they should not have done so ? . and what about the fines that would have been imposed on to these people. you cant trust anyone anymore ?? .
    Couldabeen
    31st May 2018
    11:08pm
    There is no suggestion that anyone was tested positive through faked testing.
    Typically the number of positive results is less than 1% of the total tested during any period.
    It really works only as a deterrent with the fear of being tested keeping drivers off the road.
    Charlie
    31st May 2018
    3:44pm
    When one considers all of the work police do to establish the "truth" about other matters. Any dishonesty in that system is fairly serious.
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    5:20pm
    Hmmm - any reading of historical cases will show clearly that police don't usually do much more in a case than find anything that makes their chosen target look guilty. Many a case in this country - from East to West, has been overturned eventually because there was ex-culpatory evidence that police simply chose not to pursue.

    Don't believe what you see on television...
    TREBOR
    31st May 2018
    5:17pm
    Ah - just reading a different report - it seems they've more faked doing tests, rather than cheating on them.
    Anonymous
    31st May 2018
    6:09pm
    as usual good old trebor (labor mick must be on holidays again) shot his mouth off before his brains realised he was reading the wrong report, anything new???????????????
    Adrianus
    1st Jun 2018
    9:58am
    Pussy!
    *Loloften*
    1st Jun 2018
    2:01pm
    Pis*ed off....alho' gratefully never read anything when pulled over/joined the queue, just don't drive if have had more than 2 in 4 hrs