A proposed new policy requiring NSW police officers to seek permission from their bosses to be involved in punters’ clubs has been scrapped as the union slams the “onerous” conditions put on cops.
The planned policy – labelled “extreme overreach” by the police union – was the result of a recommendation by the NSW law enforcement watchdog following a report into former police commissioner Mick Fuller’s horseracing interests.
Officers involved in a punters’ club – a group of people who contribute money to a pool for gambling – would also have been forced to supply the names of all club members to authorities.
“It’s a great example of the mentality of the extreme overreach that is being inflicted on our members,” Police Association of NSW president Kevin Morton said. “Will we have to declare who is in their lotto syndicate next? It was ridiculous.
“After we negotiated with the Police Commissioner, common sense prevailed and the policy was scrapped.”
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) report had also suggested banning all officers from owning racehorses after finding Mr Fuller should have declared his racehorse shares while serving as commissioner between 2018 and January 2022. LECC said the failure warranted criticism but did not require a finding of serious misconduct or any further action against him.
“LECC seems to have an unreal expectation,” Mr Morton said. “We know we are held to a higher standard, we get that, but at times they are not being realistic.
“This comes from outside pressure from groups like the Greens. We are not against LECC, it has a role to play as an oversight body, but there has to be some common sense.”
Mr Morton said it was this kind of workplace intrusion into the private lives of officers that was making it harder to recruit young people to the force.