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Policewoman linked to bikie faces charges over use of force's database

Nick McKenzie

November 24, 2010

Paul Peterson (blue shirt) with bikies at Macchour Chaouk's funeral in August.

Paul Peterson (blue shirt) with bikies at Macchour Chaouk's funeral in August.

A POLICEWOMAN is facing charges over allegations she improperly searched the force's database after developing a relationship with a high-ranking figure of the Hells Angels gang.

Senior Constable Lauren Conte was alleged to have inappropriately searched the force's LEAP database after forming a friendship with the sergeant-at-arms of the Hells Angels' Nomads bikie club, Paul Peterson. Peterson is a notorious bikie who in 2007 pleaded guilty to a role in an incident in which three Hells Angels members bashed and tortured a man - cutting off one of his toes in a five-hour ordeal.

He has also previously been investigated by police for alleged drug trafficking and weapons offences.

Lauren Conte

Lauren Conte

A sergeant-at-arms acts as an enforcer, settling disputes inside and outside the club.

Peterson was one of several Hells Angels members who attended the funeral of murdered crime figure Macchour Chaouk in August.

It is alleged that Senior Constable Conte met Peterson while off duty and developed a friendship with him.

Soon after, she allegedly conducted several unauthorised searches of the police LEAP database.

She has been suspended without pay since August.

Conte is due to appear this morning at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on four counts of improperly accessing police information, after being charged earlier this year by detectives from the Ethical Standards Department.

The allegations will embarrass the Victoria Police, which is moving to consolidate its approach to dealing with the growing number of bikie gang members.

State and federal police forces across the country are shifting resources to tackle the growing involvement of bikies in drug trafficking, extortion and the security industry.

The allegations involving Conte and Peterson are the latest in a series of unrelated cases involving members of bikie gangs developing relationships with law enforcement officials.

As members of bikie groups move into organised crime across Australia, such relationships are seen as valuable to the groups.

Earlier this year, The Age revealed that New South Wales police analyst Terry Gregoriou was facing allegations of having leaked details of state and national police operations to the Comancheros outlaw motorcycle gang.


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