Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
Tabled paper 283
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Claire Martin
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___________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 71 The available evidence suggested that police had been endeavouring to rectify the emotionally charged situation by reminding all people present of their obligation to keep the peace. The officers also told those present that they would arrest anyone they thought was committing an offence and if all adults were arrested then the children would be taken into care. The JRC found that since not everyone present had heard the comments complained of and evidence that some witnesses were adversely affected by alcohol, there was insufficient evidence to support the complainants allegation. The complainants allegation that police refused to take his complaint that his neighbour had threatened his life was investigated. Police who were present recall the complainant wanting to make such a complaint but also recall that he was affected by alcohol and was told that he could make his complaint at the station the next morning. The JRC found that due to the level of intoxication of some of the parties, it would have been unwise to attempt to take statements and conduct interviews at that time. The complainant did not pursue the making of a complaint and in fact came to no harm and a police officer did recall him admitting that his neighbour had no means to carry out his threats. The JRC found that the actions of police were reasonable in the circumstances. 10. Rough Justice The complainant alleged that when she was arrested by Police they did not inform her of the reason for the arrest and they used excessive force resulting in significant bruising to her arm. In addition the complainant alleged that a female Police Auxiliary in the watchhouse was very rough in dealing with her and when she initially requested to go to hospital, the request was refused. A detailed investigation of the complaint was conducted by the Professional Responsibility Division of the Northern Territory Police on behalf of the Ombudsman, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee (JRC). The Police records indicated that the complainant was not arrested on the night in question, but was taken into protective custody. Police officers advised that the complainant was informed on numerous occasions as to why she was being taken into custody. The JRC concluded that there was ample evidence that the complainant was told by Police the reason why she was apprehended that night. Police admitted to using force on the complainant when they visited the complainants unit and again when she was taken into protective custody. It was noted that police are able to use force to overcome active resistance when performing their duties. The question was therefore, whether such force was excessive. The police officers involved stated that on both visits, scuffles broke out leading to the complainant being ground stabilised by officers. The NT Police Defensive Tactics Manual describes ground stabilising as when police members place one shin diagonally across the subjects back from the shoulder to the middle of the back, leaving the toes on the ground next to the subjects shoulder. The police member rests their body weight on the shin. The subjects closest arm is grasped using a compression hold and is bent to the subjects back. The police members other knee is placed on the subjects ribs to stop the
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