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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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47 There was an increase of just over 100 in the number of Police conduct approaches received during the year over the previous period (545 compared with 443). While there had been almost 500 such approaches in 2015/16, this still represents a substantial increase. Approximately one third of the increase over the previous year came from an increase in more serious complaints (Category 1 and 2). There was also an increase in the number of more serious complaints substantiated (from 9 to 21) although analysis of the sustained issues does not point to any particular trend. There were a small number of multiple complaints about the same event or incident. There does appear to have been a tendency to increased reporting of youth complaints with the advent of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. NT Police figures for the calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018 show complaints on behalf of youths rising from 33% to 44% to 50% of all Category 1 and 2 complaints. They also note that a number of recent youth complaints have involved multiple complainants regarding the same incident. They state that the level of substantiation for completed youth complaints has not increased, with only two finalised complaints in 2016 and 2017 and one so far in 2018 involving substantiated allegations. I accept that increased public consciousness arising from the Royal Commission has contributed to an increased number of youth complaints. It may well have also made some adults more inclined to complain. With regard to substantiation rates of youth complaints, I note that many complaints raised in recent times remain subject to investigation and that there will always be obstacles in sustaining complaints where the only substantive evidence is the conflicting versions of events of complainants and officers. The increase in youth complaints is one factor contributing to the rise in approaches. Other contributing factors are not immediately apparent. The overall increase is certainly a matter that requires ongoing monitoring. There is further discussion of Police conduct complaints in the next chapter. Correctional Services approaches increased from 324 in the previous year to 401. This was still lower than the 430 approaches received in 2015/16. Correctional Services saw a 60% increase in approaches in the second half of the reporting year. Approaches relating to the Darwin Correctional Centre increased from 119 to 197, while approaches relating to Alice Springs Correctional Centre rose from 29 to 40. A contributing factor to the increase is likely to have been a reported increase in prisoner numbers. Jacana Energy approaches were substantially higher than in previous years. Approaches rose by 79% in the second half of the reporting year. The number of approaches relating to the Department of Education rose from 7 in 2016/17 to 23 but this should be compared to the 30 approaches in 2015/16. The number of more complex approaches again rose in 2017/18 compared with the previous year, with numbers of the two most complex categories rising from 559 to 617. Complexity 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 Complex matters 94 117 263 Resolved Expeditiously 346 442 354 Enquiries 2,128 1,477 1,687 Approaches relating to administrative actions of corrections, energy and water and housing agencies are discussed later in this Chapter.