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Australian Federal Police Annual Report 2009–10
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the primary law enforcement agency
through which the Australian Government enforces Commonwealth law. Established
by the Australian Federal Police Act 1979, its functions include
provision of policing services in relation to Commonwealth laws and property,
and safeguarding of Commonwealth interests. The AFP provides community policing
services to the Australian Capital Territory, while the AFP’s Australian
Protective Service is the Australian Government’s specialist protective
As Australia's national police force, the AFP provides a range of
investigation and operational support, security risk management, security
vetting and information services to assist the public. The nature of the AFP
and what is required of it, has changed significantly in recent years, with a
greater focus on national and international operations. The new challenges the AFP faces include counter terrorism, human
trafficking and sexual servitude, cyber-crime, peace
operations, protection and other transnational crimes.
Over the last decade, the agency has grown dramatically, through new policy
initiatives. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) estimates that in
2010–11, expenditure will approach $1.4 billion, more than three and a half
times (in real terms) the amount spent in 1998–99, while staffing levels have
more than doubled.
Since 2000–01, around half of the new funding has been directed to
transforming AFP operational capability, including in the areas of national security
and serious crime, and half to supporting international deployments, including
in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan.
As depicted in figure 1 below, growth in agency expenditure has slowed
since 2007–08. Expenditure in 2009–10, the focus for this report, represented
an approximate increase of 8 per cent on 2008–09 expenditure, following a
decrease the year before.
Figure 1: AFP Expenditure on outputs–real (2009–10
The AFP's budget in 2009–10 was therefore over $1.3 billion. The AFP
Commissioner, Mr Tony Negus, explained that the agency was in the process of
consolidating funding allocated to new policy initiatives into the base funding
of the agency, though this would be reflected in future annual reports rather
The AFP has an annual budget of just over $1.3 billion, with
more than 6,900 staff, including over 3,200 police and 1,067 protective service
officers as at the end of April this year. We are located in each Australian
state and territory and have a dedicated international liaison network of 98
officers in 31 locations around the world. In recent years a number of
important reviews have impacted upon the AFP and perhaps the most significant
of these was the federal audit of police capabilities, which was conducted by
Mr Roger Beale AO, in 2009. The government's acceptance of the budget related
recommendations from the Beale review has restructured the AFP's budget funding
so that, in 2010–11, 65 per cent of our funding is now base funding compared to
27 per cent in 2009–10. This has allowed us to consolidate the AFP's national
capabilities around three core operational programs. Firstly, security and
protection; secondly, international deployments; and thirdly, serious crime.
Adopting this recommendation in 2010–11 has provided greater
flexibility in directing resources to emerging and priority needs, whilst also
ensuring that the AFP retains the requisite resourcing within these three key
areas. These changes were reflected in the portfolio budget statements for 2010–11.
The committee will continue to monitor this development as part of its statutory
requirement to examine the AFP's annual reports.
Key events of interest in 2009–10
The 2009–10 Annual Report details a number of key events that occurred
during that year. The committee has reproduced details of several major events
of interest below.
Australian Illicit Drug Data Centre
In February 2010, the AFP opened the Australian Illicit Drug Data
Centre, which analyses and helps build a picture of drug distribution across
Australia. It incorporates a number of existing functions within the AFP and two
new projects funded through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The first of
these projects significantly expands Australia's drug-profiling capacity, to
develop a scientific basis for monitoring the geographic regions or production
methods and precursors used to supply the Australian illicit drug market. The
second develops a formal risk assessment methodology for precursor chemicals
that have been identified by the Commonwealth Precursor Working Group.
The data centre is one of several, including the Australian Bomb Data
Centre and the Australian Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Data
Centre. The data centres collect, collate and analyse information and provide
advice on their respective areas of expertise to the AFP and other law
enforcement agencies and national security partners and also manage specific
projects and programs that support national security or law enforcement
Project Wickenby is a multi-year operation targeting tax evasion schemes,
involving the AFP, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Crime
Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, with support from the Australian
Transaction Report and Analysis Centre, the Australian Attorney-General’s
Department and the Australian Government Solicitor. The Australian Taxation
Office is the lead agency for the overall project.
In 2009–10, the AFP instigated court proceedings against 10 people and
executed 54 search warrants for Project Wickenby operations. The report notes
that at the time of publication, 44 people had been charged with serious fraud
and money laundering offences, with four people convicted and serving custodial
The report notes that through Project Wickenby, the AFP has continued to
develop its own capability in combating tax crimes and cooperating with related
domestic and international partner agencies. Under the Project Wickenby banner,
206 members have been trained during 2009–10 in money laundering investigation,
proceeds of crime recovery and in financially-based programs.
The AFP participated in the National Identity Security Strategy Group
and chaired the Opal Group, a group of Commonwealth agencies with
responsibility for identity crime enforcement issues.
The report notes a major success in shutting down a syndicate that was
producing and using counterfeit identity documents and credit cards. The
significance of this was highlighted by Commissioner Negus:
Offences around identity crime in their own right where
people are fraudulently skimming cards or manufacturing false identity
documents for a particular reason to gain a financial benefit are one thing.
But the fact that it is used to facilitate other crimes, up to and including
terrorism, drug trafficking and other things where people will travel
internationally on false passports thereby evading law enforcement interest or
intelligence collection on those people is a significant vulnerability. As you
are aware, the Australian Crime Commission has done a range of things with its
organised crime threat assessment, and identity crime was one of the big three
challenges and threats they saw to this country.
In addition, as part of a four-year policy, multi-agency identity
security strike teams have been established in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Perth, complemented by an online identity crime capacity in Sydney and Melbourne.
Permanent national headquarters
The AFP established its first permanent national headquarters in the
Edmund-Barton building with room for around 2000 staff members. The
Commissioner noted that the new headquarters building is appropriately in close
proximity to key partner agencies.
The consolidation of staff at the new headquarters involved the relocation of
personnel and functions from ten separate sites.
Destruction of Safrole Oil
Cooperation with Cambodian authorities resulted in a major operational
success, with 20 metric tonnes of precursor chemicals used in the production of
MDMA, being destroyed in January 2010.
The committee was informed that an AFP team assisted the Cambodian
authorities with the destruction effort. The report noted that the precursor
chemicals could have been used to produce 93 million MDMA tablets, worth $3.8
Annual reporting and compliance
Annual reporting by government agencies is based on an 'outcome and
program' structure which, in the AFP's case, is set out in the Attorney-General's
Portfolio Budget Statements.
The AFP's annual report is required to fulfil a number of statutory
requirements, as well as guidelines for annual reports prepared by the
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and approved by the Joint Committee of
Public Accounts and Audit. The report's compliance with these requirements is set
out in a compliance index
and briefly examined in Appendix 2 of this report.
Based on the committee's assessment of the report, it fulfils these
AFP structure and reporting framework
Following a major audit of federal police capabilities, conducted by Mr
Roger Beale AO,
the AFP has been restructured, with the previous international, border,
economic and special operations areas being reallocated within two new
portfolios: Serious and Organised Crime and Crime Operations.
The realignment also better aligns the AFP with the Commonwealth Organised
Crime Strategic Framework.
The changes also included the creation of a third Deputy Commissioner, with
responsibility for Close Support Operations. A brief overview of the AFP, its
Ministerial directions and functions are provided in the report.
The AFP now delivers two outcomes. Outcome 1 is the safety and security
of Australians and Australian interests, both nationally and internationally,
through the investigation and prevention of crime against the Commonwealth and
has six programs within it:
- Program 1.1: Criminal Investigations, which includes the Border
and International, Economic and Special Operations and Terrorism components;
- Program 1.2: Close Operational Support, which includes the High
Tech Crime Operations, Forensic and Data Centres and Intelligence components;
- Program 1.3: Protection Services;
- Program 1.4: International Deployment Services;
- Program 1.5: Aviation Services; and
- Program 1.6: International Police Development.
Outcome 2 only has one program, which is to contribute to a safe and
secure environment through policing activities on behalf of the Australian
Capital Territory Government. 
Performance against Key Performance
Indicators for Outcome 1
The AFP met 45 out of 51 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Outcome
1. Unmet KPIs related to the Drug Harm Index and certain measures of client and
Drug Harm Index
The Drug Harm Index, a measurement of avoided cost of drug harm due to
seizures and interdiction, achieved a result of $473 million. This fell short
of the domestic target of $886 million. The international achievement was $3 million,
compared to a target of $47 million.
The committee heard that the Drug Harm Index is a complex measure that
has been developed with the University of Queensland as an innovative way to
estimate the social harms around narcotics and the broader return to the
community resulting from investment in law enforcement. It can, however, be
unduly influenced by large seizures.
The report notes that in 2009–10, while the number of drug seizures increased,
the weight of seizures decreased.
The AFP elaborated on this trend, stating:
The number of seizures by federal agencies went up
significantly and I think, from memory...it was around a 60 per cent increase
in seizures. Again, that is a rough figure, but the reported weights were
substantially down. So that meant a lot more small seizures. In response to
that we actually launched an operation, called Operation Novo, which targeted
parcels post where people were mailing large volumes of small amounts through
the post. We arrested 25 people here in Australia and a number of people in
places in South America as part of syndicates and did a lot of publicity in a
preventative sense, to say, 'If you try to send drugs to Australia through the
mail in small amounts, you will be caught.' A significant number of clandestine
laboratories were also identified through that operation.
The Commissioner noted that in the 2010–11 financial year, both the
number and weight of seizures had been high, influenced by a number of major
The committee sought further information regarding the methodology
behind the Drug Harm Index, which was provided on notice and is available from
the committee's website. The committee was informed that the Drug Harm Index
formula involves multiplying the seizure weight of a particular drug by an
estimate of its social cost. These estimates, referred to as the 'multiplier',
are outlined in Table 1:
Table 1: Drug Harm Index—social cost estimate per
kilogram of drug
Social cost per kilogram
Client stakeholder satisfaction
In addition to the Drug Harm Index KPI, the AFP fell short of a number
of KPIs relating to client and stakeholder satisfaction. These measures of
satisfaction were as follows:
- border and international criminal investigations achieved 78 per
cent compared to the target of 80 per cent;
- close operational support – forensic and data centres achieved 76 per cent
compared to the target of 80 per cent;
- protection services – close protection achieved 81 per cent
compared to a target of 90 per cent; and
- protection services – uniformed protection at Commonwealth
facilities/premises achieved 75 per cent compared to a target of 90 per cent.
While the shortfall for most of these unmet KPIs was not large, it is
notable that the targets were all met in 2008–09. The committee will therefore
examine performance in this area in future reports.
Performance against KPIs for Australian
Capital Territory Policing (Outcome 2)
The AFP policing activities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are
very briefly summarised in the report, as the AFP is accountable to the ACT's
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, for whom a separate more detailed
annual report is prepared.
With actual expenses in 2009–10 amounting to $139 million, ACT policing
represents approximately one tenth of the AFP's operational expenditure.
As a community policing role, the report focuses on areas including
burglaries and antisocial and criminal behaviours associated with excessive
ACT Policing met 22 of its 34 KPIs with most of the unmet KPIs being
close to the target.
Human resources and staffing issues, including training programs,
conferences and occupational health and safety issues are set out in Appendix 4
in the annual report.
The AFP has established a strategic human resources framework as the basis to
deliver on recruitment, retention and capability requirements arising from
reviews including the Beale Audit.
The AFP workforce plan focuses on its gender and diversity targets,
including a 50 per cent gender mix and increased numbers of indigenous
Australians. Of the total AFP workforce of 6175, 33 per cent are female. By
comparison, of the 3056 sworn officers, 23 per cent are female.
A number of AFP staff members are out-posted to other agencies,
secondments, or peacekeeping missions. A substantial proportion of out-posted
staff are involved with stabilising or capacity building missions, including in
the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, which make up 53 per cent and 25 per cent
respectively of the out-posted staff.
Management and Accountability
The AFP’s internal accountability mechanisms and audits during 2009–10 covered
executive management, strategic committees, insurance and risk, fraud control,
anti-corruption planning and internal audit.
In accordance with guidelines 1.9 and 2.8 of the Commonwealth Fraud
Control Guidelines 2002, the AFP Commissioner certified that appropriate fraud
prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data-collection procedures
and processes were in place.
The AFP is subject to a range of external governance relationships,
including with this and other parliamentary committees, the Commonwealth and Law
Enforcement Ombudsman and the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner.
The Commonwealth and Law Enforcement Ombudsman (Ombudsman) undertook a
number of reviews and investigations in 2009–10, which are described in Chapter
5 of the report. These reviews and investigations are generally provided to the
Parliament and are useful in assisting the committee to conduct oversight of
The Ombudsman's annual review of the AFP recommended that the AFP
conduct further analysis to determine the cause of delay in finalising
complaints against the agency. The committee took the opportunity to question
the AFP about this matter at its public hearing. The AFP explained that the
different categories of complaints were processed in different ways:
[F]or category 1 and 2 complaints, so the lower level
complaints, the responsibility for progressing resolution sits with local
supervisors, local management and local team leaders. The level of education
and support in terms of good process to those areas right across the
organisation has been increased in the last 18 months. The higher potential
risk matters—category 3 matters—that are handled by professional standards,
have had probably two main choke points in the process. The process itself was
designed around the organisation when we had half or fewer numbers of staff
than we currently have. So the actual systems supporting the numbers of
complaints have not been adapted as the organisation has grown to the larger
organisation that we now are.
Over the last eight to nine months we have introduced two
main changes. The first one is to make sure that, for one choke point, which
was the final adjudication of the matter, after it had been investigated and a
view had been formed about options for its resolution, an independent person or
a person not previously involved in the matter comes along and adjudicates on
the resolution of the matter. That step had about 250 matters awaiting
adjudication around Christmas this year. About six weeks ago we hired an
additional SES band 1 officer to work full time on that. That particular body
of work is now less than half. It was down to 120, the last time I saw the
figures. So, in terms of addressing the backlog, we have got that particular
strategy. In terms of then maintaining a steady state so that we do not
generate another backlog over time, the commissioners appointed a panel of
additional adjudicators so that, rather than a single person having that
responsibility, a small team of five or six people at that senior executive
level who are trained up to perform the role can share the workload around the
adjudication of those matters...The two strategies are: to redesign the system
so that it can actually maintain work levels and then aggressively attack the
backlog that had been created.
The AFP informed the committee that it was currently discussing with the
Ombudsman the complaint categorisation system that has existed for the past
four years, and whether it is effective.
The committee will continue to monitor this and other complaint-handling issues
in the future.
ANAO audit report
In February 2011, the ANAO presented to Parliament a performance audit
report examining the AFP's management of the implementation of new policy
As described at the beginning of this chapter, the AFP has grown
substantially over the last decade as a result of various new policy
initiatives, with the amount of funding tied to new policy initiatives approaching
as much as 75 per cent of the AFP's total budget at times.
While the AFP's performance and effectiveness remained high during this
period of growth, the ANAO has identified a need for the agency to improve upon
its policy implementation capability and internal governance. Specifically, the
ANAO made four recommendations relating to:
- the AFP's internal governance framework;
- increased consideration of implementation risks and mitigation
strategies associated with new policy initiatives;
- measures to improve organisational capability, assurance and
- measures to provide greater clarity and support effective
organisational oversight of new policy implementation.
The AFP has endorsed these recommendations and the committee looks
forward to their implementation over time. The committee discussed the AFP's
proposed response to the recommendations at a public hearing on 13 July 2011,
and was encouraged by the strategy outlined by the agency. Further detail can
be found in the Hansard transcript of the hearing, available at
This examination of the AFP's 2009–10 Annual Report represents the
committee's first formal oversight activity for the agency. The committee
thanks the AFP for its positive approach to the exercise and looks forward to
building a productive relationship in furtherance of the committee's statutory
Mr Chris Hayes MP
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