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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


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.




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18 Police reporting concerns about police 89. A police officer can, depending on the precise nature of the issue, utilise any of the three processes, namely internal chain of command, complaint under the Ombudsman Act or public interest disclosure. Police chain of command 90. The most common and direct mechanism for a police officer to report concerns about another officer is through the police chain of command. NT Police maintains a clear structure of rank and reporting which is adequate to deal with the great majority of issues in normal situations. 91. There are obligations within that structure for officers who have concerns to report internally. For example, the NT Police Code of Conduct and Ethics provides: 85. All members must report any suspected or actual breach of the Code of Conduct and Ethics or any suspected or actual improper conduct. 86. This should be done through the normal chain of command. Where possible such breach should be resolved at a local level. However in serious cases the matter is to be referred to the Commander of the Ethical and Professional Standards Command for assessment and determination of investigation. 88. If members are not sure if a matter should be reported, they should seek advice from their supervisor. 88.1 If the supervisor is the person against whom the member is alleging improper conduct, the member should advise the person next in the chain of command or seek advice directly from the Ethical and Professional Standards Command. Ombudsman complaint 92. Police can make a complaint about police under the Ombudsman Act but there is a limitation in relation to such cases set out in section 21(2): However, a police officer or person representing a police officer may make a complaint about conduct of a police officer only if the conduct: (a) constitutes an offence punishable by imprisonment; or (b) is likely to bring the Police Force into disrepute or diminish public confidence in it. 93. This acts to restrict use of the Ombudsman complaint mechanism so that it is not utilised to raise less serious internal matters that are more appropriately dealt with as part of Police management processes. 94. However, questions of what conduct is likely bring NT Police into disrepute or diminish public confidence are open to interpretation and debate. While some cases will obviously be serious enough to meet the test, there is potential for a considerable grey area at the margins. 95. Even so, any police officer can make a complaint under the Ombudsman Act in relation to more serious matters, either directly to the Ombudsman or to another police officer. Public Interest Disclosure 96. Likewise, a police officer can make a public interest disclosure about another police officer. Again, there are restrictions on public interest disclosures that limit the issues of concern that a police officer can raise about another police officer (although in this case the restrictions have general application).

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