NSW Police to contribute $100,000 to Environmental Programs after EPA investigation

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the NSW Police Force following an investigation into the disposal of police evidence exhibits.

The EU will see NSW Police contribute $100,000 to the Environmental Trust to assist in developing projects that address environmental legacies such as hazardous chemical incidents and contaminated soils.

The EPA began its investigations following an allegation from a former police officer about the improper storage and disposal of evidence and drugs seized during a case in July 2012.

The EPA’s Director for Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health, Craig Lamberton said the EPA’s investigation confirmed that some exhibit wastes had indeed been taken for destruction at facilities that could not lawfully accept the material.

“Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act all waste, including evidence collected by police must be disposed of at facilities that are licenced to handle these kinds of materials. Evidence materials can include things like hazardous chemicals or illicit drugs and it is important they are disposed of in such a way that they will not pose a risk to the environment or human health,” Mr Lamberton said.

“Once NSW Police were made aware of the disposal requirements officers immediately stopped sending the materials to these facilities.”

“In addition to the $100,000 commitment NSW Police have also made changes to their policies and procedures to ensure best practice is applied to drug exhibits, including appointing an Assistant Commissioner to oversee the management of exhibits as well as developing a training program for all staff.”

Enforceable undertakings are legally binding agreements and are one of a number of regulatory tools the EPA uses to achieve environmental compliance in NSW.

Enforceable Undertakings are often imposed to ensure measures are put in place to not only address the immediate problem but also to provide and ensure a real and lasting benefit for the environment and community is achieved. 

A copy of the Enforceable Undertaking is available on the EPA website:

www.epa.nsw.gov.au/prpoeoapp/searchenforceableundertaking.aspx