Vic Police probes illicit database access

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LEAP file of St Kilda teen at centre of sex scandal in the spotlight.

Victorian Police have launched an investigation into allegations 80 officers inappropriately accessed the file of the girl at the centre of the St Kilda football scandal.

An Age newspaper report yesterday alleged police officers accessed the girl's official file stored on the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database.

A spokesman for the state's Office of Police Integrity told iTnews it had "been made aware of a Victoria Police investigation into certain alleged inappropriate LEAP [database] access".

"OPI will be informed of the outcome of the investigation," the spokesman said.

Victoria Police deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe told ABC Radio today that its Ethical Standards department was "quite satisfied" that allegations of inappropriate access it had reviewed were "justifiable". The checks were ongoing, Walshe said.

The newspaper said the file in question was of the teenager linked to a nude photo scandal involving members of the St Kilda football team and an alleged affair with AFL player manager, Ricky Nixon, who was under investigation by the AFL Players Association for allegedly having sex with the girl.

It was not the first time that the LEAP database had been examined over security and inappropriate access issues, although the number of reports had declined in recent years.

In 2007-08 there were 26 confirmed LEAP breaches, down from 47 the previous year.

In the past, members of the agency had checked LEAP "for curiosity, training purposes or personal convenience, such as checking their personal vehicle registration details", according to Police.

LEAP was introduced in March 1993 to store "particulars of all crimes bought to the notice of police as well as family incidents and missing persons".

"It also includes details on locations, vehicles and persons involved. The database is online and updated constantly, 24 hours a day," Victoria Police said.

A LEAP replacement has been discussed for years.

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