Queensland police access social justice advocate’s personal file 1,400 times
A social justice advocate has had her personal file accessed by Queensland police 1,400 times since 2008, which she says is an abuse of privacy.
The database, where her file was accessed, is a secure online tool capturing administrative and intelligence information, which police access during the course of their work, such as when checking a speeding motorist.
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties advocate Renee Eaves, who does not have a criminal record, submitted a Right to Information (RTI) request in to see how many times her Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange (QPRIME) file had been accessed.
She was startled to see it had been checked 1,400 from 2008 to May.
Ms Eaves said officers are supposed to give a reason each time they access a personal file, but she was not given any insight into the 1,400 cases.
When she submitted a second RTI application to see how many times her personal file was accessed between May and last month, Ms Eaves said it was knocked back on the grounds that there was an investigation underway into her first complaint.
She initially became suspicious when officers would ask her date of birth when advocating on behalf of police brutality victims, or officers who had issues with upper management.
“I was right in that there was a gross abuse of this system,” Ms Eaves told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“It is being used against innocent members of the public who deserve and are entitled to privacy.
“It should only be for the eyes of only people who are authorised and have a reason to access that information.”
Ms Eaves said police are now denying RTI requests by other members of the public.
“This goes to the very heart of transparency with the Queensland Police Service,” Ms Eaves said.
“Once they realised that this questionable behaviour was going on, they started to shut down and close ranks and reject applications.
“Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg?”
Police Commissioner needs to explain: QLS
Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said he was concerned Ms Eaves’ file was being accessed when she was not the subject of a police investigation.
“It is extraordinarily important they don’t misuse, or at least have perception of misuse, of such details as well,” he told ABC 612 Brisbane.
“Rather than have extended secrecy and hiding behind walls of bureaucratic paper, perhaps the Police Commissioner can have a look at it and give some reasons or an explanation as to why this is happened.
“And if it has happened, and there is no proper basis for it, then the people who are doing this really seriously should be looked at.
Queensland Police have been contacted for comment.