EXCLUSIVE: NSW Police have promised sweeping changes to the remit of the controversial Fixated Persons Investigations Unit in light of several highly publicised and embarrassing incidents which gave rise to concerns it was a “political goon squad” used to shut down opponents and whistleblowers truthfully speaking about political and police corruption. Nour Ahmad reports.
The Fixated Persons Investigations Unit (FPIU) was established in 2017, ostensibly for counter-terrorism reasons, a few years after the 2014 Lindt Cafe Seige in Sydney’s CBD perpetrated by lone gunman, Man Haron Monis. Its apparent stated goal was to stop people from engaging in serious crime or terrorism and who are showing warning signs of dangerous extremism, possibly because of a mental illness.
The Unit was set up by the recently resigned former NSW Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller. The former “top cop” was embroiled in controversy when the ABC revealed in February that he did not declare his racehorse shares to the government, potentially breaching anti-corruption rules.
Now, with the swearing-in of his replacement commissioner Karen Webb, True Crime News Weekly has been left wondering if the goals and intentions of the Unit have changed.
As such, our humble tabloid recently emailed the NSW Police for comment. In response, we received a considered and somewhat surprising statement from a police media liason officer.
“The Fixated Persons Unit has been realigned within the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, which includes broadening the investigative remit beyond fixation,” the statement began.
“While their office has been relocated, there has been no reduction to the staffing level or other resources.”
“These changes are part of the NSW Police Force’s commitment to best utilise resources to reduce violence, crime and fear. They also reflect similar adaptations across other law enforcement agencies in response to the ever-changing terrorism environment.”
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Despite this statement, True Crime News Weekly is still skeptical about the supposed changes and believes the Unit still has a lot to answer for.
A knowledgeable source has informed True Crime News Weekly that Man Monis – the inspiration behind the unit’s formation – may have been a longtime police informant or ASIO asset.
Man Monis, 50, was out on bail at the time of the seige for over 40 sexual assault charges against seven alleged victims and for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, Noleen Hayson Pal, in 2013.
Ms Pal, who had unsuccessfully applied for an AVO against Monis, was stabbed 18 times by Monis’ girlfriend, Amirah Droudis, and was set alight outside Monis’ flat.
Prior to the seige, the local Muslim community in Western Sydney was also aware of Monis’ increasingly unhinged behaviour and capacity to commit violent actions. The community had apparently shunned Monis, and various Islamic leaders viewed him as damaged goods, a loner and someone who came across as having a serious mental illness.
The Fixated Persons Investigations Unit has further come under the microscope following its use last year by the former allegedly corrupt NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro, to arrest Friendlyjordies producer, Kristo Langker, for simply asking him journalistic questions.
Last year, it was revealed in court that the unit was set upon Mr Langker even though he had not been assessed by a panel to determine if he was indeed actually fixated in any way.
Before that, the unit had been unleashed upon Adam Greenwood, a regional journalist who had blown the whistle on corrupt councilors colluding with dodgy property developers and criminals in the picturesque NSW Southern Highlands town of Bowral.
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Mr Greenwood told True Crime News Weekly late last year that police were offended when, in 2020, he released a four-minute parody video detailing his findings of police corruption. The FPIU arrested Mr Greenwood in August 2020 and he was hastily shipped off to Campbelltown Hospital, where he was kept in confinement for three days and force fed powerful, mind-altering drugs. Meanwhile, the Wingecarribee Shire that Mr Greenwood had long complained was mired in corruption finally came under the gaze of an official state government investigation looking into “allegations of financial mismanagement and deep-seated cultural issues.”
Another case, also covered by True Crime News Weekly, was the Unit’s involvement in the wrongful arrest of isuepolice.com founder, Luke Brett Moore. After Kristina Keneally’s cop son, Daniel Keneally, lied about receiving death threats from Mr Moore, the unit raided the Mr Moore’s Nowra home and arrested him. He would then spend three hellish weeks in solitary confinement at the South Coast Correctional Centre.
In NSW Parliament, Greens MP Mr David Shoebridge argued that the Luke Brett Moore situation should be a time to review the actions of the unit and the NSW police but that, instead, it was being brushed under the carpet.
Mr Moore has spoken about being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following his release and commenced formal proceedings for compensation in the Supreme Court late last week, on June 24.
Luke Brett Moore will be seeking seven figures in compensation in an upcoming Supreme Court battle (Image: Supplied)
Around the same time of Mr Moore’s case, a NSW officer was jailed for falsifying documents that resulted in a transgender woman being charged. The officer assaulted the transgender woman, Anya Bradford, at a Liverpool pub in May 2019, and changed police records to pin the transgender woman as the aggressor.
Even lawyers weren’t safe, because, in the same month, two members of the anti-bikie task force “Strike Force Raptor” followed and harassed a solicitor representing a member of a motorcycle gang. As a result, the NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman even considered law reform to strengthen protections for defence lawyers.
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If police from other squads are engaging in these corrupt activities, it makes True Crime News Weekly curious about what else the Fixated Persons Investigations Unit could also be up to.
On a journey to sate our curiosity, True Crime News Weekly had emailed the NSW police for comment late last year.
We had asked whether the Fixated Persons Investigations Unit was a “political goon squad” or “proto-fascist squadron” that was used to scare and shut up people honestly speaking about political or police corruption.
We also queried if NSW Police would like to apologise to both Mr Greenwood and Mr Langker for harassment over valid and truthful journalist and political activities.
Next, we asked if NSW Police had any comment to make about using the FPIU to harass Shane Dowling, the publisher of the popular Kangaroo Court of Australia website.
Lastly, we wanted to know whether True Crime News Weekly too would come under the gaze of the Fixated Persons Investigations Unit for accurately reporting about these matters.
A NSW Police spokesperson turned down our opportunity to provide a comment about the Unit’s activities.
“Thank you for offering the opportunity,” the police spokesperson said late last year. “However, we will decline at this time.”
With all these mounting controversies, True Crime News Weekly wonders if the Fixated Persons Investigations Unit is NSW’s own version of Ancient Rome’s Praetorian Guards. The Unit certainly has acted like a collective of ruthless bodyguards created for the rulers, also known as the likes of John Barilaro in our modern day.
Time will only tell if the goals of the Fixated Persons Investigations Unit have truly changed or if they will continue wreaking havoc on outspoken citizens of NSW.
Additional reporting and research by Serkan Ozturk
I was one of the first targets of the Fixated Persons Unit. I work at NSW Treasury, and due to me standing up for myself at a workplace bullying incident against a well-connected individual, I became a target of the Unit.
I’ve been tortured in my sleep over the past two years. My story also includes a suicide attempt (never been suicidal), and admission to a mental health ward.
Contact me at 0452 460 600. I wish to get in touch with the lawyers of Mr Moore and other victims to find legal representation to initiate my own case in court.
Thank you for this platform, I’ve just found it today.