- Fears over 37 lost Victoria Police badges and IDs
- By JAMES DOWLING
- Contributed by: Bewitched ( 29 articles in 2014 )
CARELESS police officers and staff lose on average two expensive pieces of equipment vital to their work each week.
Dozens of ID badges, handcuffs and police caps are among hundreds of items of Victoria Police equipment that have gone missing in the past two years.
Documents released under Freedom of Information to the state Opposition show 37 badges and police IDs were lost — sparking fears the missing “Freddies” could end up in the wrong hands.
The police badge must be carried with an officer whenever they are out in public, both on and off duty.
Even those in specialist squads are not immune to losing their important badges, with one officer from the homicide squad and a member of Taskforce Santiago, the organised crime-busting squad, reporting lost or stolen badges.
In the past two financial years, the force reported $181,261 of lost or stolen equipment to the Victorian Government Auditor-General.
Portable radios, torches, handcuffs and mobile phones are the most common items reported as missing.
The force also spent more than $72,000 replacing dozens of lost, damaged or stolen breathalysers.
Even expensive specialised equipment, such as vests and speed guns, has been lost. One $8850 hi-tech pair of night-vision goggles went missing from the police’s highly trained force response unit — whose officers carry out high-risk arrests and public order issues.
The documents show one police officer drove off with a $7440 speed gun on the roof of the car, which fell on to the road and was then run over and destroyed.
Opposition emergency services spokesman Wade Noonan said the equipment losses were significant.
Victoria Police spokeswoman Melissa Seach said the force treated the loss and theft of equipment with the utmost seriousness.
“We encourage all members of the public who find police property to contact their local police station.”