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New task force to target corruption within Customs and Border Protection

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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Minister for Immigration and Border Protection


Wednesday 27 November 2013


A new internal task force will target ‘hard to detect’ corruption within the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison, said today.

Task Force Pharos will complement integrity reforms already introduced within the Service.

“This internal task force will identify officers or groups who pose significant risk to the Service as a result of their on-duty or off-duty behaviour, their associations outside the workplace, or their involvement in criminal activities,” Mr Morrison said.

“It will also significantly enhance the Service’s internal integrity intelligence capability by targeting hard to detect corruption and serious misconduct in cases where officers actively seek to conceal matters which may make their continued work as an ACBPS officer untenable.”

The taskforce will employ a range of measures including targeted Organisational Suitability Assessments, targeted drug and alcohol tests and integrity tests, as well as intelligence analysis of a range of legally obtained information.

“Where appropriate, lawful physical and electronic surveillance may be considered in the most serious cases of attempts to avoid detection,” Mr Morrison said.

The taskforce will work closely with external bodies already providing oversight and criminal investigation capability of serious allegations within the ACBPS - the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the Australian Federal Police.

Mr Morrison said Taskforce Pharos would ensure the community could have confidence in the commitment of Customs and Border Protection officers to perform their vital work at the Australian border.

“I share the ACBPS CEO’s view that the vast majority of officers are honest and hardworking. They will have nothing to fear from this task force,” Mr Morrison said.

The establishment of Task Force Pharos follows an announcement by the CEO earlier this year of the creation of the Special Integrity Adviser role within the Service, reform of its integrity and professional standards function, and the introduction of a range of measures to harden the Service’s defence against corruption and serious misconduct.

Further information: Julian Leembruggen 0400 813 253