Monday, September 6, 2010

When a Rostered Day Off gets in the way

Information sharing is at the heart of intelligence efforts since 9/11. It commendable when disparate parts of the criminal justice system do their best to keep each other aware of changes in the environment. However, policies themselves must keep up with the intent and practicalities of the new information sharing paradigm. Here is an example when things go wrong and obvious balancing of policy and practice must take place. This is from "The Australian"...

The Australian Federal Police spent almost half a million dollars and more than six weeks trying to track down fugitive Dragan Vasiljkovic. This was despite receiving an email from the accused war criminal informing them of his movements on the day officers sought to arrest him. In a deeply embarrassing and expensive bungle, Mr Vasiljkovic's message regarding his whereabouts on the day he absconded remained unread until well after a warrant had been issued for his arrest because the officer to whom the information was sent was on a rostered day off and did not check his email. The bungle meant that 102 officers spent 3814 hours on a needless hunt.

On March 30 this year, the High Court ruled that Mr Vasiljkovic, the one-time leader of a Serbian paramilitary unit accused of rape and torture during the Balkans War in the early 1990s, should be extradited from Australia to Croatia to face questioning over his alleged crimes. Upon the High Court handing down its decision, a 2006 warrant for Mr Vasiljkovic's arrest was reinstated. But after AFP officers failed to find him at the court, they went to his Coffs Harbour home in NSW, only to find he was not there.

Freedom of Information documents obtained by The Australian have revealed that Mr Vasiljkovic had, as per the conditions of a High Court order, emailed a nominated AFP officer on March 29 -- the day before the warrant for his arrest was issued -- to inform him that he would be flying from Canberra to Coffs Harbour on the morning of March 30. However, the AFP officer was on a rostered day off on March 29 and did not start his shift on March 30 until that afternoon. By the time the officer read the email from Mr Vasiljkovic, the accused war criminal was already on the run, having learned a few hours earlier of the court's extradition order.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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