NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione allegedly 'covered up' a bugging operation in 2001

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. Photo: Getty Images

The political machinations and factional rivalries of the NSW police force continue to be exposed at a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into a 14-year-old internal bugging operation.

The latest claims and counter claims involve NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione who a former colleague implies “covered up” a controversial 2001 bugging operation into police corruption.

Pointing the finger is former assistant commissioner Mal Brammer who says Scipione failed to act over concerns about the surveillance and allegedly illegal recording of conversations involving more than 100 police officers and a journalist, suspected of corruption.

Scipione, who was commander of an internal affairs unit at the time, which has been also accused of falsifying evidence to conduct the surveillance, says he acted on misconduct complaints as soon as they were brought to his attention.

Brammer told the parliamentary inquiry that Scipione had “a general lack of courage … to resolve the matter a decade ago” and should be “held to account and criticised if warranted”.

“Ultimately it was the responsibility of the Commissioner because it was a distinct discredit to the organisation that these allegations continued on, continued on to this very day, without any resolution or attempt to resolve it in any effective way,” he said.

“[It] gives substance to speculation that there was a cover-up on their part”.

Following the accusations NSW Premier Mike Baird has said the police commissioner had his support and no judgement will be cast until all the facts have been heard.

“Andrew Scipione still does have my support,” he said.

“In relation to what is happening down at the inquiry, I have said we need to see all of the information.

The surveillance operation, which saw a number of officers charged, caused a major divide in the NSW police force, as many senior and respected officers were among those who were targeted.

This is particularly evident in the relationship between Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas, who was bugged, and Deputy Commissioner Cath Burn, who was among the officers running the investi­gation within Internal Affairs.

They have since been seen as rivals to succeed Scipione when he steps down this year.

The inquiry has so far heard that a total of 112 officers.

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