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Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Australian Federal Police Annual Report 2012-13

Background

2.1        The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is Australia's international law enforcement and policing representative and the government's chief source of advice on policing issues. The role of the agency is to:

...enforce Commonwealth criminal law, to contribute to combating organised crime and to protect Commonwealth and national interests from criminal activity in Australia and overseas. As a key member of the national security community, the AFP leads and contributes to many whole-of-government national security initiatives.[1]

2.2        Section 8 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the AFP Act) outlines the functions of the AFP including:

2.3        The AFP's strategic priorities are determined in accordance with section 8 of the AFP Act and Ministerial Directions issued under subsection 37(2) of the AFP Act.[3]

Annual reporting and compliance

2.4        The AFP is required to prepare an annual report under section 67 of the AFP Act. The section requires that:

(1)  The Commissioner shall, as soon as practicable after each 30 June, prepare and furnish to the Minister a report on the administration and the operations of the Australian Federal Police during the year that ended on that date.

(1A)  The report must contain, in respect of the year, prescribed particulars about:

  1. the AFP conduct issues that were dealt with under Part V [Professional standards and AFP conduct and practice issues] during that year; and
  2. the action that was taken, during that year, in relation to AFP conduct issues that were dealt with under Division 3 of Part V [dealing with AFP conduct or practice issues].

(2)  The Minister shall cause a report furnished to him or her under subsection (1) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is received by the Minister.

2.5        The AFP is a prescribed agency for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act). As an FMA Act agency, the AFP must comply with the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies,[4] prepared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. The annual report's compliance with these requirements is set out in a compliance index.[5]

2.6        Based on the committee's assessment of the annual report, it fulfils these requirements.

AFP focus 2012-13

2.7        During the reporting year, the AFP continued to focus on reducing criminal and other security threats to Australia's collective economic and societal interests. The AFP concentrated on five key areas, namely:

Proceeds of Crime Litigation

2.8        In relation to the third area concerning Proceeds of Crime Litigation, the AFP has responsibility for the operational legal function aspect of proceeds of crime litigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987, the International Criminal Court Act 2002 and the International War Crimes Tribunals Act 1995.[7] This function also provides legal advice involving all issues related to proceeds of crime. The Proceeds of Crime Litigation group consists of 36 specialised litigators and support staff located across Australian with offices located in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. The function provides advice on asset confiscation to the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, as well as independent proceeds of crime litigation services to the Commonwealth.[8]

2.9         AFP operational highlights in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Litigation function included:

AFP achievements 2012-13

2.10      In the Commissioner's review, Commissioner Negus highlighted a number of the AFP's 2012-13 achievements. They include:

2.11      Commissioner Negus informed the committee that throughout the year in review, the AFP had continued to build on its investigative capability, as well as improving the use of resources and optimising the flexibility of its workforce while strengthening relationships with partner agencies and stakeholders. As a result, Commissioner Negus argued the AFP had built on its previous year's positive results to produce 'outstanding results' for the reporting period.[11]

2.12      In terms of operational successes, the multiagency cooperative approach of the AFP has resulted in notable domestic and international outcomes, especially in Operation Marca.[12] This operation consisted of a joint task force incorporating the AFP, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) that targeted corrupt activity within the ACBPS at Sydney's international airport. Operation Marca resulted in the seizure of 54 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and more than $235 000 in cash.[13] Another seizure of 585 kilograms of methamphetamine, worth up to $438 million, was accomplished through the drug investigation of Operation Roselle. This was reported as the largest ice seizure in Australia's history.[14] Finally, Operation Conqueror achieved good outcomes with a large-scale investigation into child sexual abuse, resulting in 25 arrests.[15]

2.13      Commissioner Negus also highlighted the importance of support officers who aid frontline officers and create a 'unified workforce'. The Commissioner indicated that the AFP was found to be the highest placed public sector employer of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex members and received a 2013 Pride in Diversity award.[16]

AFP structure and performance measurement

2.14      The AFP's outcome and program structure for 2012-13 are set out in the Attorney‑General's Portfolio Budget Statements.[17]

Figure 1—AFP Outcomes and Programs

Outcome 1

Outcome 1 contributes to reduced criminal and security threats to Australia's economic and societal interests through cooperative policing services.

Program 1.1 National Security—Policing

Program 1.1's primary focus is on prevention. It comprises the Counter Terrorism, Aviation and Protection functions.

Program 1.2: International Deployments

Program 1.2 delivers initiatives on behalf of the Australian Government that are aimed at improving regional and international security, stability and governance. It is supported by the International Deployment Group.

Program 1.3: Operations—Policing

Program 1.3 seeks to reduce criminal threats to Australia's collective economic and societal interests by employing a multidisciplinary approach to combating crimes against the Commonwealth. The program comprises the Serious and Organised Crime (which includes the International Network) and Crime Operations functions.

Program 1.4: Close Operations Support

Program 1.4 provides specialist support to the AFP's national security and operations programs, in particular keeping pace with advancements in technology and science.

It comprises the Operations Support, Intelligence, Forensic and Data Centres, and High Tech Crime Operations, Legal and Proceeds of Crime Litigation functions.

Outcome 2

Outcome 2 contributes to a safe and secure environment through policing activities on behalf of the Australian Capital Territory Government.

Program 2.1: ACT Community Policing

Program 2.1 provides crime and safety management, road safety, prosecution and judicial support, and crime prevention.[18]

Strategic Leaders' Group

2.15      The Strategic Leaders' Group (SLG) is the AFP's peak advisory committee. Its membership consists of the Commissioner as Chair, Deputy Commissioners, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Police Officer ACT Policing, National Managers and two non-executive members. The SLG assists the Commissioner make decisions and exercise his statutory responsibilities. The SLG also supports the Commissioner in developing and enhancing partnerships with external stakeholders.

2.16      During the year in review, the SLG endorsed a new Strategic Risk Profile based on best practice that will inform the AFP's strategic decision making in relation to:

2.17      The SLG also considered other important issues such as the strategic implications of the emerging operating budgetary environment, the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Integrity Testing model, the development of the National Security Strategy and the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and the AFP's annual intelligence assessment.[20]

2.18      In April 2013, Mr William Laurie concluded his involvement with the AFP SLG as a non-executive member. Subsequently, Professor Michael Wesley joined the SLG.[21]

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

2.19      In terms of performance over the review period, the AFP has 33 KPIs relating to Outcome 1 and its four programs. According to the annual report, the AFP met or exceeded targets for each of the 33 KPIs which:

...extends the record of strong results across all programs since comprehensive reporting of KPIs against targets was introduced in 2009‑10... Overall stakeholder satisfaction again reached 90 per cent, which is equal to the highest recorded since the survey commenced. This is an important achievement, given the increasing scope and diversity of the AFP's clients and partners, 831 of whom completed the survey. Of these, 43 per cent were from government, 38 per cent law enforcement and 15 per cent private sector.[22]

2.20      While drawing attention to the AFP's success in meeting all the KPIs for the first time, Commissioner Negus emphasised that not only were the targets met, but many KPIs were improved upon from previous years:

...the AFP met or exceeded all 33 key performance indicators listed in the portfolio budget statement—and...we are on track to do it again this year with a few of those results yet to come in. In addition, the AFP improved on the results of 11 of these indicators, including: community confidence in aviation law enforcement and security; and community awareness of cybersecurity.[23]

Outcome 1—key highlights and performance

Program 1.1: National Security—Policing

2.21      Three major functions make up the program—counter terrorism, aviation and protection.

Counter-terrorism 

2.22      In relation to counter-terrorism, there are Joint Counter Terrorism Teams in each Australian jurisdiction made up of members of the AFP, state and territory police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and members of other relevant agencies.[24] During the year, counter-terrorism training was provided to 97 members of the Joint Counter Terrorism Teams and 40 members of international law enforcement agencies in the region.[25] Other highlights for the year in relation to AFP counter-terrorism activities included:

2.23      The AFP achieved and exceeded its target in relation to all four KPIs specific to counter-terrorism and one program-level KPI.[27]

2.24      The 90 per cent target for KPI 5 concerning the 'percentage of counter‑terrorism investigations that result in a prosecution, disruption or intelligence referral outcome' was exceeded by 10 per cent to achieve a 100 per cent outcome.[28]

Aviation

2.25      The role of the AFP in relation to aviation is to contribute to law enforcement and security at major Australian airports. The AFP is responsible for managing criminal threats at Australia's ten designated airports—Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and to deliver security on select Australian-flagged flights.[29]

2.26      Some highlights during the year in relation to the AFP's aviation function included:

2.27      With the Joint Airport Investigation Teams, a further 30 arrests were made resulting in 91 charges.[31]

2.28      There are three specific KPIs concerning aviation (KPI 6–8) as well as the program level KPI regarding external client/stakeholder satisfaction noted above. In relation to all three KPIs, the AFP exceeded its 2012-13 targets.

Protection

2.29      AFP protection is designed to keep safe those individuals and interests identified by the Commonwealth as being at risk from acts of terrorism, violent protest and 'issue-motivated violence'. Protection services include high-visibility security for Commonwealth establishments, close personal protection for Australian high-office holders while in Australia and when travelling overseas, and administration of the National Witness Protection Program.[32]

2.30      Highlights in relation to protection services over the reporting year included the provision of protective security arrangements for:

2.31      There are three KPIs relating to protection (KPI 9–11). Of particular note is KPI 11 which concerns the number of avoidable incidents per 5000 hours. The target for this KPI was less than four and the actual result was nil.[34]

Program 1.2: International Deployments

2.32      The International Deployment Group (IDG) contributes to national security by providing policing support for the delivery of programs that meet the government's aid objectives by improving the capacity and effectiveness of policing which furthers 'regional and international security, stability and governance.'[35]

2.33      Highlights for the reporting year in relation to the IDG include:

2.34      Significantly, after 14 years the AFP's involvement with the United Nations (UN) in Timor-Leste ended in December 2012 with the conclusion of the United Nations Integrated Mission.[37] At its public hearing, committee members asked for an overview of the mission. The AFP explained that the role of the UN in Timor-Leste was to provide support to the country and develop its basic police force. Mr Peter Drennan, Deputy Commissioner, National Security added that:

The UN presence there was about stabilisation and getting the country to a point where it could start to rebuild. Parallel to that, we ran what we called the Timor-Leste police development program which was about building the basic capacity of the Timor-Leste Police...[38]

2.35      In addition, Commissioner Negus highlighted that the AFP has removed its presence from both Afghanistan and South Sudan.[39]

2.36      There are six KPIs relating to international deployments (KPIs 12–17) which were all met and in some instances exceeded. For example, KPI 16 concerns the percentage of mission resources committed to countries with rule of law indicators below the international median as determined by figures published by the World Bank. The AFP exceeded its target of 80 per cent for KPI 16 in 2012-13 by achieving 90 per cent.[40] The same result was also achieved in 2011-12.[41]

Program 1.3: Operations—Policing

2.37      The crime program comprises the serious and organised crime function and the crime operation function. Its aim is combating organised crime nationally and internationally with a focus on prevention and disruption.[42] Highlights for the reporting year in relation to this program include:

2.38      There are six KPIs relating to this program (KPIs 18–23). The result in relation to KPI 20 for operations–policing concerning the 'return on investment for investigation of transnational crime' was seven, while the target was less than one. In comparison, the 2011-12 result was eight.[44]

Program 1.4: Close Operations Support

2.39      The close operations support program provides specialist support to the AFP National Security and Operations programs 'particularly to address advancements in technology and science'. It comprises the AFP forensic and data centres, and the high tech crime operations, intelligence and operations support functions.[45] Highlights for 2012-13 included the processing of the following operational requests by the Operations Coordination Centre:

2.40      There are ten KPIs relating to this program (KPIs 24–33). All of these KPI targets were met or exceeded, including KPI 30 which concerns technology crimes investigations and measures the number of high-impact to very high-impact cases reaching court. The target for this KPI was 80 and the AFP achieved a result of 101 cases.[47] In 2011-12 the target for this KPI was 70 and the AFP achieved a result of 109.[48]

2.41      The percentage of scheduled deliverables completed for offshore capacity-building projects is incorporated in KPI 28. The target for this KPI was 80 per cent and the AFP achieved 100 per cent.[49]

Operations and multi-agency taskforces 2012-13

2.42      The AFP leads Australia's capacity to detect and defeat serious and organised crime by ensuring the ongoing implementation of response plans under the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic framework.[50]

2.43      In relation to illicit drug importation, 343 new drug investigations were undertaken during the review period leading to the seizure of 5661 kilograms of illicit drugs.[51]

2.44      Other operational highlights across the AFP's respective programs include:

2.45      Many of these operations were carried out by joint taskforces established as part of a response to the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework which emphasises a multi-agency approach. During the reporting year, the AFP collaborated in joint operations and taskforces including:

Intelligence

2.46      The AFP intelligence function provides intelligence services to all levels within the AFP through investigative teams, covert services and maintenance of relationships with the Australian and international intelligence communities.[62] Highlights for the intelligence function included Operation Whiffler:

...an intelligence-generated investigation into a transnational organised crime syndicate suspected of large-scale imports of methamphetamine into Australia, resulting in the arrest of five people and seizure of 110 kilograms of methamphetamine in Japan, as well as the arrest of the Australian facilitator.[63]

2.47      The committee asked if the growing online world posed any challenges for intelligence gathering. The Commissioner replied that this consisted of one of the AFP's main areas of concern. In particular, the Commissioner noted the challenge regarding the radicalisation of people online due to the ability of individuals to access and research radical teachings from their homes.[64] Mr Kevin Zuccato, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Close Operations Support, informed the committee that the increase in communication technology does pose challenges for the AFP intelligence function. Conversely, it also aids the AFP to infiltrate networks that rely on these methods of communication.[65] The main challenge consists of sorting through a large amount of information to locate the information required for an investigation within a reasonable timeframe:

..it is very difficult to wade through the amount of data that is collected and to locate the information that is actually required for an investigation...that simply means that we need to change our investigative approach and retrain our investigators not to ask for everything and to search for those opportunities that exist that are going to pay the biggest dividend.[66]

High Tech Crime Operations

2.48      High Tech Crime Operations contends with the threats of cybercrime through disruption, mitigation and prosecution while supporting the broader AFP through its technical capabilities.[67]

2.49      AFP operational highlights in relation to cybercrime and high-tech crime included Operation Lino, a criminal investigation under taken by Cyber Crime Operations to dismantle a Romanian-based crime syndicate. The syndicate was reported to have fraudulently used 30 000 Australian credit cards, resulting in the loss of $30 million. In November 2012, the syndicate in its entirety was identified, exposed and dismantled.[68]

Proceeds of crime activities 2012-13

2.50      The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce coordinated a systematic approach to criminal asset confiscation, while aiming to remove the revenue of crime. The taskforce is led by the AFP and involves expertise and resources of the ACC and the ATO, and consists of teams based in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra. The taskforce investigates and litigates both 'conviction-based and non-conviction based proceeds of crime matters.'[69] The report also states that:

The work of the taskforce complements the Organised Crime Strategic Framework by targeting the criminal economy and assists in protecting the public finances of Australia from criminal abuse.[70]

2.51      One major operation that involved the confiscation of assets was Operation Volante. The operation commenced in April 2012 as an investigation into the activities of a crime syndicate and by March 2013 the AFP had executed 37 search warrants across Melbourne:

During this operation the AFP, through the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, took action under Commonwealth proceeds of crime legislation and restrained approximately $9 million in assets, including 99 designer handbags and wallets, $4 million in cash, residential properties valued at $5 million, $600 000 in casino chips, jewellery worth approximately $1.5 million and a Lamborghini.[71]         

2.52      Another operation that resulted in action taken by the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce was Operation Pied:

Operation Pied was an investigation into an illegal investment scheme based in the United States. The operation involved the AFP, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. The investigation resulted in excess of $12 million being forfeited as proceeds of crime.[72]

Resources and staffing

2.53      The AFP reported a departmental operating deficit of $2.5 million, excluding depreciation and a move in the value of employee entitlements.[73] The departmental operating income for 2012-13 was $1282 million comprising:

2.54      Commissioner Negus stated that the deficit consisted of a variance of less than 0.2 per cent of the AFP's total budget. The Commissioner continued:

The significance of these results is further emphasised by the absence of any adverse findings from the Australian National Audit Office in relation to the AFP's financial statements. For an agency our size, of almost 7,000 people, that is an outstanding result...[74]

2.55      In addition, the AFP received $25 million in government appropriation for capital expenditure and $11 million as an equity injection as part of new initiatives. In 2012-13, the AFP also administered $17 million in expenses on behalf of the government.[75]

2.56      As of 30 June 2013, the AFP had 6897 staff comprising 3573 sworn police, 733 protective service officers and 2591 unsworn staff.[76]

2.57      The following table provides a comparison of staffing figures between 2011-12 and 2012-13.[77]

Figure 2—AFP staffing 2011-12 and 2012-13

Sworn status

2011-12

2012-13

Sworn police

3321

3573

Protective service officer

836

733

Unsworn staff

2376

2591

Total

6533

6897

Asia-Pacific Group

10

12

Grand Total

6543

6909

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