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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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2 Overview 1. This report arises from investigation of allegations relating to the conduct of two NT Police officers, former NT Police Commissioner, Mr John McRoberts and Mr Richard Bryson. 2. The former has resigned from NT Police while the latter remains a serving officer. 3. In each case, it was alleged that a conflict of interests arose in relation to the same criminal investigation because of the association of the officer with a person who was under investigation (the travel agent). 4. The information obtained by my Office does not suggest that there was any common course of action between the two police officers the allegations arose out of the same investigation but the two officers acted separately and their actions can be considered separately. 5. In addition to personal associations with the officers, the travel agent provided travel agency services to NT Police and was Chairperson of Crime Stoppers Northern Territory, a non-profit incorporated association, that was closely aligned with but not part of NT Police. In the course of their association, the travel agent also gave a number of personal gifts to the former Commissioner. 6. The NT Police Code of Conduct and Ethics contains extensive provisions relating to conflict of interests and associations with people who have had or are having adverse dealings with Police. These include requirements to avoid becoming involved in matters involving friends, to disclose any conflict, and to resolve any conflict in favour of the public interest and NT Police. Department of Health and NT Police investigations 7. The investigation of the travel agent was part of broader investigations into apparent overpayments to a number of travel agents made in the course of administration of the Northern Territory Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme. 8. Under the Scheme, which is administered by the Department of Health, eligible individuals could make claims to recover certain amounts spent on travel. Often travel arrangements and claims on the Scheme were made on behalf of individuals by travel agents under agreements with the Department of Health. 9. Following concerns identified in October 2012, the Department of Health conducted internal investigations and identified a number of potential discrepancies between amounts claimed and amounts ultimately paid for travel. The Department approached NT Police at that time and was given initial advice on how to proceed. 10. In early 2013, the Department engaged Ernst & Young to conduct a preliminary investigation. The Ernst & Young report, which is dated 24 May 2013, was a scoping report rather than an in depth analysis of individual transactions. Its purpose was to point to avenues and mechanisms for further enquiry. It did identify a number of Higher Risk and Lower Risk travel agents but any action would involve a great deal of additional investigation and analysis. 11. In November 2013, the Auditor-General was consulted in relation to the issue. The AuditorGeneral wrote to the Commissioner of Police on 6 November 2013. This was followed by a letter from the Chief Executive of the Department of Health to the Commissioner of Police dated 13 December 2013.

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