Police suspended in Aust child porn operation

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NSW Police has suspended two of its officers and seized their home computers, as part of an Australia-wide investigation into child pornography.

NSW Police has suspended two of its officers and seized their home computers, as part of an Australia-wide investigation into child pornography.

The suspensions are part of Operation Auxin, an Australian-wide crackdown on child pornography.

Investigators from Internal Affairs seized home computers belonging to the officers who have not yet been charged, according a statement from NSW Police.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said that as soon as it became apparent that the officers were targets of Operation Auxin "matters were expedited". "I must stress that at this stage, the investigation into both of these officers is on-going and charges are yet to be laid."

Moroney said every member of the State Crime Command was subject to tough integrity checks, and other assessment processes such as psychological testing.

"Regrettably, while no system is infallible I will be seeking advice on whether additional checks need to be put in place," Moroney said. "Officers working in areas of such a sensitive nature must be subject to the highest possible levels of scrutiny."

In a statement, NSW Police said Phase One of Operation Auxin had targeted the highest risk offenders. Investigators had executed 69 search warrants and charged 30 people with 77 offences, it stated.

Those charged had included a pastor, nine teachers, two doctors, a nurse, an army officer, a counsellor, an engineer, computer technician, insurance agent, truck driver, surveyor, and an emergency services worker.

In the second phase of the operation, 100 people in NSW had been identified as being suspected of possessing child pornography. "These targets are believed to be a lower risk to children than targets of Phase One," according to a NSW Police statement.

Superintendent Kim McKay, who is leading the investigation, said charges might be laid following police inquiries.

"NSW Police has the technology and forensic capability to trace any attempt to disguise or delete images downloaded on a computer," McKay said.

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