The Dark Side

This new book contains the amazing story of Mark Standen, third most powerful officer in the NSW Crime Commission until his arrest for corruption in 2008 and subsequent conviction. Always a flakey character, with a major gambling addiction, chaotic private life, and an expensive relationship with a work colleague half his age – how did he get away with being crooked for so much of his 33 years in law enforcement? Hindsight gives us an unfair advantage in asking that question, yet Standen’s example does make you wonder just how bad you have to be to ring alarm bells in some law enforcement circles.

Authors Clive Small and Tom Gilling write: “Mark Standen was not a good cop who went bad, but a reckless and greedy law enforcement officer whose duplicity had been evident almost from the start of his career. Standen was a punter who could never keep up with his losses, an investigator who saw no problem socialising with criminals.” He eventually went down for involvement in a huge international drug smuggling operation.

Did his bosses not know about his friendships with crooks, or did they tolerate this despite the lesson from the ICAC investigation (Rogerson and Smith) and the NSW police royal commission of the 1990s, that when cops get too close to informants, it generally ends in  tears?

Small and Gilling have previously produced the excellent Smack Express and Blood Money. Here they add to the series that will provide future generations the definitive record of NSW organised criminal activity from the 1970s until today.