Territory Stories

Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report



Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report

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Tabled paper 283


Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled Papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT; Tabled Papers




Tabled By Claire Martin


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___________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 69 7. Party Pooper The complainant, a 14 year old, was at home with no adult supervision when a party got out of control. Police attended and dispersed the crowd. Once it was established that there was no adult supervision at the property and the complainant had said she had no adult relatives in town at the time, police decided to take her into protective custody under the provisions of the Community Welfare Act. Contact was made with one of the complainants parents and she was released into the care of a suggested responsible adult without charge. The complaint concerned issues of rudeness by police during her detention; not being given reasons for her detention; that confidential police information was disclosed to a school friend; and that she should not have been subjected to a breath test. The Professional Responsibility Command, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee, conducted an investigation and interviewed the complainant and all police officers involved in the incident. The allegation that police had been rude and discourteous was not substantiated, however, it was found that a senior police officer had in fact accessed and disclosed confidential information about the incident, which then became public knowledge at the complainants school. The JRC was also concerned that the officer who took the complainant into custody had not complied with the provisions of the Community Welfare Act and had no power to subject her to a breath analysis, although it was found that the officer had been in acting in good faith and with the best interests of the complainant in mind. As a result of the investigation, the officer responsible for disclosing information was formally counselled and he also personally apologised to the complainant. NT Police have now set up a Police Information Integrity Working Group on which the Ombudsmans office is represented. This Group will develop policies, procedures and operational practices which will ensure the security and integrity of information held by police. The officer responsible for taking the complainant into custody was given educational counselling on the application of the Community Welfare Act and his powers to subject a person to a breath analysis. 8. Difficult to Investigate The complainant alleged that she had been sitting with a relative when they were approached by police. Police searched her shopping bag which was filled with food and one of the officers took out an empty juice bottle and for no reason, hit the complainant on the mouth with it. The officers allegedly laughed at the complainant and then walked away. The matter was subject of an investigation by the Professional Responsibility Command of the NT Police under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee.