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Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT



Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT

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Tabled paper 934


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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7 CHAPTER 1 FOCUS AREAS The Office dealt with a large range of issues over the course of the year. A number of activities or issues on which the Office focussed are discussed below. POLICE ISSUES Youth justice The approach by NT Police to youths and young children has been the subject of consideration by the Royal Commission. I discuss the Royal Commission in more detail in Chapter 2. Issues relating to the treatment of children have also arisen in the context of a number of recent complaints to my Office, for example in: the Case studies at pages 43-57 of my 2016/17 Annual Report; my report on Taser use and Management of NT Police conduct (2017) discussed in Chapter 4 of this report; Case studies 2, 4 and 7 in this Annual Report (in Chapter 7 of this report). It is essential that NT Police review its approaches, corporate documentation and training in relation to how police treat and interact with children. Body worn video The advent of the body worn videocamera (BWV) represents a substantial advance in terms of fact finding in investigation of offences and complaints against police conduct. Audio and video recording acts both as a moderator of the behaviour of all concerned and is just as likely to provide clear evidence that officer conduct is justified as not. However, numerous instances have arisen over the past year where officers have failed to wear BWV equipment that they have been issued or failed to turn it on at an appropriate juncture. In some cases, it has been suggested that officers have not had time to turn on the BWV in the haste of a developing situation. The lack of relevant video footage is frustrating and limits the ability of investigators to establish the truth of allegations. The process for turning on BWV is not complex or time consuming. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for all officers issued with BWV cameras to turn them on at the earliest possible opportunity if they are or may be likely to exercise a police power. For example, officers approaching a reported domestic violence situation, a rowdy crowd or a situation where there is a potential for adverse interaction with a member of the public should turn on BWV on approach rather than waiting to see if a problem develops. There is no downside to turning on BWV in anticipation. Turning on BWV sooner rather than later frees officers to attend to their other duties as well removing any ambiguity should their actions be challenged at a later date. Effective BWV use is an important matter which our Office will continue to monitor closely.

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