Greed, power and too many smarts

By Roger Rogerson

Roger Rogerson is now in jail for murder. This article was submitted to us back in 2009 and we have retained it for historical purpose. In it he bemoans corrupt and powerful police.

Roger Rogerson

THEY'RE smart cookies and they know it. They're cocky and arrogant. They travel all around the world doing whatever they like. And they've got unlimited money to play with.

They're greedy. Very greedy. And they know they can get away with it.

A lot of them are bad gamblers - and that's the worst situation for a cop with potential to turn. That's the most dangerous type.

But the reason these high-level cops cross the line is because they've got absolute, unlimited power.

At the State Crime Commission and the Australian Crime Commission they have unfettered powers, there's no one there to do checks on them. They're a law unto themselves, accountable to nobody.

Let me tell you how the State Crime Commission works. Their main role is to take possession of property, to make money for the Government. And they work on commission.

The first thing they do on an operation, without anyone being charged, is hit people with a caveat on their house. They freeze all your bank accounts for months and months, and they slowly go through it all and basically break you bit by bit.

Then they have a private hearing and they work out a deal. They actually barter, they sit there and barter over people's lives, their houses and their Mercedes cars.

There was a case recently where a person had been convicted and here's this Crime Commission investigator acting as a witness, accused of threatening this bloke. Of course, he denied it. But who's going to question a Crime Commission investigator standing up in court under oath? Nobody.

It's not like policing at all. It's an incredibly powerful body, too powerful as we've seen this week.

A lot of people said I crossed the line, which I deny to this day.

It takes a certain type of person to cross the line.

They've got to have greed. I honestly don't think you could say corruption exists because cops are poorly paid. It's because of greed, simple as that.

I mean, it's not a matter of them being poorly paid, that they need the money, especially at the Crime Commission or in the top ranks. These are senior investigators on $130,000 or $140,000 a year. I don't think they can cry poor-mouth.

But if they have a gambling problem, well that makes it even more dangerous, even more tempting.

A lot of them are bad gamblers. In my day I saw cops who were terrible gamblers, who'd put most of their pay cheques on the horses or through the hokie pokies and you knew they were battling when you went to their homes, everything would be buggered, old lino, old lounge suites - it was all going into gambling.

You couldn't get a phone to do any police work on a Saturday because most of them were ringing up Townsville to get bets on or ringing Brisbane to get tips in Perth.

A gambling habit makes it highly dangerous. I mean, you're searching people's homes, finding thousands and thousands of dollars in cash and drugs and if you've got a gambling debt, it's a hell of a temptation to knock something off isn't it?

And they're already leading a double life which makes it even easier.

These guys at the State Crime Commission, they can't tell their families much because in these situations they're sworn to secrecy.

I remember when the joint task force was operating between the state police and the federal police. All those operations had untraceable addresses, bodgy identities, they even had bodgy companies where their cars were registered. Everything they used or touched had nothing to do with the police.

They live two totally different lives. It's easy for them to turn - they're already living a lie. It's the thrill of the chase for a lot of them too.

They thrive on that sort of stress, knowing they can't get caught, the adrenalin starts pumping like mad.

There's no doubt these guys are under enormous pressure. Here they are locking up people who have been conspiring to import huge amounts of cocaine and ice and what do you know, they are doing it themselves.

Doing your job, and doing your job properly and getting results is extremely exhilarating, but for someone who has got a financial problem, especially gambling where they've done a fortune, lost millions, the obvious option for them is corruption. It's right in front of them, it's right there for the taking.

Cops in general have got to be smart people to combat crime and these days crims are unbelievably smart. I mean with international rings emanating from Europe you can't imagine what these crime commission guys could get their fingers into. You've got to be a bloody smart cookie.

They've got an attitude of "I'm very smart and no one is smarter than me".

For someone at a rank and level of power, especially in the crime commission, you're the commander, you don't need a partner in crime. You can do a lot of dodginess all on your own. Coppers like this mix with certain horrible people and the minute they have some trust with them they then use them as a conduit and that's how it all comes about.

The normal state cops are answerable but these guys, they're not answerable to anyone. They had the Royal Commission and it said all these horrible things that cops got up to, but it's nothing like what's going on in the Crime Commission.

It's come back to that old saying: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I've heard it for years. And if you go right back through the centuries, throughout time, you'll see that's what happens.

I'm hoping, I'm really hoping that if there is any corruption proved at the State Crime Commission after the events of this week, that it will be a huge eye opener for the Government and they might now bring in some rules and regulations that require these people to be accountable to somebody - because they're not at the moment. And that goes to the heart of the problem.

Copyright Roger Rogerson


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