A group of former undercover police agents seeking compensation for the damage caused by their past drug use claim they were trained to commit perjury and tamper with evidence.

The admissions were made by six former agents who appeared on the Holmes television show last night calling for an inquiry into undercover operations.

They come as the police force awaits the outcome of several inquiries into sexual assault by present and former officers.

Speaking through a spokesman, Justice Minister Phil Goff said there was nothing new about the officers' claims that they were taught to perjure themselves.


Mr Goff recalled that the same allegations were made before a select committee about a decade ago.

He did not want to comment further last night because he had not seen the Holmes programme.

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson said that there were ongoing negotiations aimed at resolving the issues raised.

"I am advised by Crown Law there have been settlements with some former undercover officers and a number of other cases are close to being settled. So progress is being made. In addition, some former officers have taken cases to the High Court.

"I have no other comment to make."

Holmes also broadcast photographs that allegedly showed Police Association head and former undercover officer Greg O'Connor rolling and smoking a marijuana joint for recreational use.

The officers claimed that Mr O'Connor declined to co-operate with an internal police investigation into his actions.

Mr O'Connor said he has admitted in court that he used drugs while working undercover and had declined to participate in the internal inquiry on legal advice.

He said the release of the photographs showing him smoking marijuana had endangered his safety, as a substantial number of people were arrested as a result of his work.

He said the police association continued to support the officers in their fight for recognition and had spent $1 million supporting their case.

Another of the former officers claimed to have been drunk and stoned during an armed offenders squad callout.

The group's advocate and former head of the Police Association, Rob Moodie, said he believed the present police force was corrupt and questioned the ability of the Police Complaints Authority to properly investigate problems within the force.

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson said he was concerned at the claims, which needed "careful consideration".

He said police would co-operate fully if a "further external review" was needed. Mr Robinson said the undercover programme had already been reviewed several times.

Compensation fight

* The undercover officers' dispute began in the early 1990s, with officers claiming post-traumatic stress.

* An independent review in 1995 found that undercover officers risked cannabis dependence and alcoholism.

* Last year five former undercover police officers were paid $480,000 for stress and drug addiction caused by their work.

* A further 19 former undercover police officers had cases outstanding.

* In August last year, a jury found that two undercover officers fabricated evidence and lied under oath.