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OmbudsmanNT Investigation Report Matters arising from allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former Commissioner of Police and another police officer May 2015



OmbudsmanNT Investigation Report Matters arising from allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former Commissioner of Police and another police officer May 2015

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Tabled paper 1378


Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Adam Giles


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11 45. I acknowledge that the Code of Conduct and Ethics is a detailed policy document that goes a considerable way to establishing robust guidelines in relation to handling of integrity issues. 46. However, this is an area in which there have been significant developments since the current Code was promulgated in 2007 and it is important to regularly review policies and procedures to ensure that they continue to represent best practice. Matters for consideration in review 47. Without wishing to limit the scope of a review, I discuss below a number of matters that I believe should be considered. 48. Firstly, NT Police has raised a number of potential initiatives, including reinvigorating its core values and vision statement, reviewing its conflict of interest policy within the Code of Conduct and its internal investigation general order, and possibly developing a discrete conflict of interest general order. These are all positive proposals and my Office is happy to participate in any discussion of the best way forward. 49. Secondly, I support recommendations of OCPID that there be clear and unambiguous guidelines on gifts and hospitality, with case studies on what is and is not appropriate and that NT Police establish a gifts register. 50. Situations can be complicated by gift giving, even if it is ostensibly an aspect of a personal association. If it occurs in a context where there is a public element, for example, where there is also a business association as a supplier of goods or services, the extent of gift giving may well be relevant to establishing whether an association is of sufficient substance to give rise to a conflict of interests. Accordingly, this should be addressed in relevant policies and procedures and it is arguable that, where there is a business association with NT Police or an associated body, even personal gifts should be recorded in the gifts register. 51. Thirdly, I am concerned that there is an underlying view held by some individuals that they can deal with a conflict of interests by heroically carrying on and making sound judgements in spite of the conflict that they can rise above personal interests to do the right thing. 52. While in a particular case, an individual might not make a different decision because of a personal interest, such an approach misses the point of conflict of interest processes. They are not about the subjective intentions of the officer or their strength of character. They are about dealing with risk. 53. The best approach is invariably to avoid becoming involved in a situation that gives rise to a conflict of interests.2 54. The key elements of conflict of interest procedures should be to encourage disclosure and discussion in order to identify potential conflict of interests and avoidance or withdrawal from involvement in cases where a conflict of any substance is identified. 55. We should not expect or accept public officers putting themselves in or being put in positions where they must reconcile competing personal and public interests. The goal must be to protect the officers and the public from such situations. Procedures must make this clear and every effort must be made to ensure that officers understand and accept the need to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest. 2 There may be exceptional cases where emergency or statutory requirements mean that it is not possible to avoid some involvement but these would be very rare.