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Cops had 'unhealthy' source relationships

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Victoria Police had "unhealthy" relationships with informers during Melbourne's gangland wars, a former drug squad boss says.

Amid an overhaul of how police dealt with sources in the early 2000s, then-drug squad boss Tony Biggin said "there was a feeling that Victoria Police ... had probably been recruited by informers rather than recruiting informers".

"So we were actually doing it the wrong way ...providing information back or in fact entering into unhealthy relationships with informers," Mr Biggin on Wednesday told Victoria's royal commission into the practice.

His comments came amid a grilling about his knowledge of turncoat lawyer Nicola Gobbo as she informed on her own clients.

Mr Biggin said he was told Ms Gobbo, now infamously known as Lawyer X, had been registered as a source around October 2005.

"I recall thinking that this was unusual," the former officer said in a statement to the commission, released as he gave evidence.

"I was aware that Ms Gobbo was a barrister."

Mr Biggin told the commission he assumed at the time Ms Gobbo's dual roles as a barrister and an informer were being managed by her handlers.

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