Police claim they have been forced to take stress leave and reduced to tears by the "bullying and intimidation" tactics of WA's powerful corruption watchdog, sparking fresh tension between the crime-fighting agencies.
WA Police Union president George Tilbury yesterday told the parliamentary committee that oversees the Corruption and Crime Commission that the watchdog's focus on police was "akin to a vendetta".
"The lack of respect shown to our members by the CCC is a disgrace," he told the joint standing committee of MPs.
Giving evidence at a hearing on the issue of police declining to take part in voluntary interviews with the CCC on the basis of advice issued by the union, Mr Tilbury said the matter had been blown out of proportion.
CCC Commissioner Roger Macknay has previously told the committee that the decision not to give voluntary interviews threatened to thwart the CCC doing its job.
Mr Tilbury told the committee yesterday that officers had been advised not to take part in voluntary interviews with the watchdog - which afforded them no legal protection - in the context of an escalation of CCC investigations into police matters and complaints about tactics of bullying and intimidation.
He said aside from an email outlining the details of complaints by officers involved in one inquiry, officers had raised issues verbally and did not want the matters brought to the attention of the CCC because of a fear of "reprisals".
Mr Tilbury also questioned the impartiality of the Parliamentary Inspector of the CCC, former Supreme Court judge Michael Murray, in response to questions about whether any of the complaints had been referred to the inspector, saying he had formed an opinion on the issue of voluntary interviews without consulting police or the union.
Committee chairman Nick Goiran said he was not satisfied the claims of impartiality, directed at a person of Mr Murray's eminence and experience, were sustainable on the grounds provided and suggested the union make detailed submissions if it wanted to pursue the matter.
Outside the hearing, Mr Til- bury said there had been dozens of complaints about the watchdog's tactics.
CCC executive director Mike Silverstone said the union had never raised any concerns of bullying with the commission.
Mr Silverstone said all interviews were recorded unless a witness objected and it would generally be easy to determine if anything untoward had occurred.
Mr Murray said he had responded to a letter from Mr Macknay raising concerns about the advice not to take part in voluntary interviews.