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Misuse of the information management system by public servants

The misuse of information systems is a growing concern across public and private sector agencies. This is especially the case in the policing context where particularly sensitive information is stored about members of the general public.

In the WA Police a growing number of public servants employed within the agency have been identified as accessing the agency’s information systems for unauthorised purposes. This increase in the misuse of the Information Management System (IMS) has prompted WAPOL to review the effectiveness of their current preventative strategies and formulate new strategies that effectively target and prevent IMS misuse. This requires an understanding as to why employees engage in IMS misuse despite the presence of policies that prohibit such behaviour.

Drawing on concepts from the theories of planned behaviour and general deterrence, this research aims to identify the factors that facilitate and prevent employee misuse of the IMS by unsworn WAPOL personnel. The research consists of three stages:

  • A survey of WA Police unsworn police personnel
  • Interviews with those who have misused the IMS
  • Interviews with management regarding IMS misuse within the agency

It is anticipated that the results of the research will inform the development of effective deterrent, prevention and detective strategies that provide an adequate defence against future IMS misuse within WA Police.

Funding body

WA Police Service

Project duration

November 2010 - November 2013


Nikki Rajakaruna, Lead Chief Investigator
Pamela Henry, Chief Investigator

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