Submission: A review of Police Oversight in New South Wales

RLC made a submission with regards to Police Oversight powers as a form of police misconduct, which in turn resulted in unnecessary victims.

In this submission, RLC considered the use of technology in police oversight. Action was urged in combatting against increasing perception that police officers are willing to give false evidence in everyday prosecutions. RLC encouraged a fresh approach to the release of information about sustained complaints so that the public can be confident that the New South Wales Police Force is taking action against wayward police.

In summary, RLC made the following recommendations:

Term of Reference 1

  • Transfer the responsibilities, assets and budget of the Ombudsman for Part 8A Police Act matters to the Police Integrity Commission.
  • Do not incorporate the ICAC in to the police oversight structure

Term of Reference 5

  • Increase efficiency by granting the District and Supreme Courts the power to find that a police officer engaged in unlawful conduct for the purposes of section 122(1)(c) of the Police Act 1990.
  • Conduct greater numbers of active oversight investigations in scenarios similar to established cases of unreliable testimony or malicious prosecution.
  • In sustained complaints, the oversight agency should seek the victim's consent to publish relevan excerpts of video on the agency website, with a summary of the investigation findings.
  • The oversight agency should have unfettered (but internally audited) access to the NSWPF body - worn video database
  • That the independent oversight body be given he power to make binding findings that conduct under sections 122(1)(c)(d) has occured
  • Under the current system, section 141(1)(e) of the Police Act 1990 be amended to clarify that civil proceedings against the State of New South Wales do not constitute a "satisfactory means of redress" against the individual officer.
  • Complaints have a statutory right of appearance in the IRC for section 173 and section 181D reviews.
  • The independent oversight body be given the Commissioner's power under section 181D of the Police Act.
  • Oversight agencies should make their best efforts to keep the ODPP apprised of all information relevant to a current (or potential) prosecution in police misconduct matters.
  • The police oversight body should not be required to provide information to the Coroner.
  • Repeal section 40 of the Police Integrity Commission Act (or equivalent) and provide protection to witnesses equivalent to the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW).

Terms of Reference 6

  • That the police oversight body continue to have the existing PIC jurisdiction to investigate complaints in relation to NSWCC activities.