OmbudsmanNT Investigation Report Matters arising from allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former Commissioner of Police and another police officer May 2015
Tabled paper 1378
Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Adam Giles
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
9 [Culture of Integrity] An agencys culture of integrity, as defined by clearly understood and implemented policies and rules, is more important in shaping the ethics of police officers than the qualities of individuals within that agency. A culture of poor ethical health can infect individuals, such that, over time, they make decisions and judgements that do not reflect their initial values and begin to mirror that of their environment. Similarly, a culture of high ethical health can bring about change in individuals attitude, tolerance and judgement when placed in ethical dilemmas. The cooperation of front-line police is essential in detecting breaches of integrity, but often, misplaced loyalty or concern for the personal welfare of their colleagues discourages many officers from reporting misconduct. Weakening the silencing effect of this concern or loyalty is vital to enhancing integrity within the agency. Officers learn to evaluate the seriousness of various types of misconduct by observing their organisations diligence in detecting it and dealing appropriately with those found to have engaged in misconduct. If a department or region welcomes complaints about misconduct, thoroughly investigates those complaints, and takes appropriate and timely action for any misbehaviour, then officers conclude that such misconduct is unacceptable. However, if a department ignores or discourages complaints and fails to investigate or fails to address unacceptable behaviour, officers learn not to take those violations seriously. If an unwritten, informal rule conflicts with written policy and codes of conduct, the resulting confusion undermines the agencys overall integrity building efforts. To avoid this situation, police managers need to follow the written policy in practice, model expected attitude and judgement and coach officers who are unclear on official policy. Consistently, most officers agree on the appropriate assessment of serious misconduct and the expected sanctions, particularly for serious offences. Most complaints of misconduct however, are less serious. There is greater discrepancy and less agreement about how to assess and respond to these complaints. From a building integrity perspective, consistently addressing these relatively minor breaches with the appropriate strategies to rectify behaviour assists officers understanding and judgement for future dilemmas. [p.6] 43. The current NT Police Code of Conduct and Ethics contains extensive provisions relating to conflicts of interest, associations and acceptance of gifts and benefits, a number of which are set out below: Conflicts of Interest 33. The importance of family and private commitments is accepted. However, members shall arrange their private affairs in a manner that will: 33.1 prevent any conflict of interest from arising; and 33.2 ensure there is no incompatibility, or perceived incompatibility between their personal interests, activities or beliefs, that interfere with the impartial fulfilment of their official duties and responsibilities. 33.3 cease or minimise any contact or interaction with persons who have or continue to have adverse dealings with the NT Police, (adverse dealings for example can include; extensive criminal history, adverse intelligence holdings, known police targets) 34. If a conflict of interest does arise, the member shall resolve the conflict in favour of the public interest and the Northern Territory Police Force.
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