(TRUE CRIME) Review - Confessions of a Crooked Cop, Sean Padraic

Author: Sean Padraic
Publisher: ABC Books / Harper Collins
Copyright: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7333-2817-6
No of Pages: 295

Book Synopsis:

Detective Sergeant Trevor Haken was one of the infamous Golden Mile's most crooked cops. Now he lives in hiding, in a hell of his own creation.

Graduating from small bribes to stealing money and receiving kickbacks from drug dealers, Haken became an informant for the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the New South Wales Police Service. The Commission's findings sent shockwaves through the police force and beyond, resulting in the dismissal and resignation of many officers, and the reorganisation of policing in the state.

Book Review:

Part personal story, part historical overview, part warning about how easy going wrong can sometimes be, CONFESSIONS OF A CROOKED COP is the story of NSW Policeman Trevor Haken as told to author Sean Padraic.

This book is flagged in the media release as "The corrupt cop from UNDERBELLY 3 tells his side of the story" so it's not going to come as a lot of surprise to see this book out and the timing in which it was released. I haven't seen a lot of the publicity for UNDERBELLY 3 but I'd take a wild guess that this book tells the personal story of one of the main figures of the upcoming series. It is the personal story of one of the most important police informants testifying before the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the New South Wales Police Service.

Given that it is a personal story, and despite it being told by a third party author, there is a single viewpoint slant to the book with little external analysis or review of the story being told. There also doesn't appear to be overly strenuous attempts to paper over the corrupt activities that Haken was involved in, although the details are somewhat sketchy and there is an unavoidable feeling of things that the teller of the tale simply did not want to talk about / expand on. There's definitely a sense of careful explanation going on. This is possibly one of the most interesting aspects of the book - that slightly reticent feeling. Perhaps a dance with the truth because it sits more comfortably, or is it as a result of the voiced concern for Haken's welfare (he's in Witness Protection still)?

Either way, in something that strikes me as particularly telling, I doubt the revelations in this book are as explosive or startling as they may have been at the time of the Royal Commission itself. What was undoubtedly disturbing is the extent to which exposure of the corrupt and illegal activities within the New South Wales police system ultimately relied on the testimony of personnel within the ranks. The risks that Haken (and others like him) took to bring the truth to light obviously takes courage and nerve. The way in which he was treated after the event, and how he now must live his life is the real exposé of the book.

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