Friday, September 2, 2011

W.A.: CCC blasts internal police misconduct investigations

The WA Police Internal Affairs Unit has inadequately handled several serious allegations of misconduct by officers to the extent that it could threaten community confidence in policing, the Corruption and Crime Commission has found.

In at least four serious cases during the past four years, the unit failed to deal with the matters thoroughly and rigorously, while some allegations were incorrectly recorded by police as non-misconduct allegations, the CCC revealed in a damning report into the management of misconduct by WA Police released today.

On at least one occasion, an investigating officer failed to declare a conflict of interest when he was appointed to deal with a complaint against a colleague, who was also a friend.

The CCC has made seven recommendations including that WA Police review its misconduct management system which could still be at risk of failing in its approach to dealing with conflict of interest complaints and unauthorised computer access.

WA Police should also review its approach to provide apologies to complainants, who were aggrieved, adopt Police Complaints Administration Centre quality assurance processes for all misconduct cases and implement complaint resolution training and consider issuing clearer guidelines.

However, the CCC said about 96 per cent of misconduct allegations were managed properly.

The CCC's director of corruption prevention Roger Watson said there were indications the Internal Affairs Unit had already improved and more recent cases would be examined in a second report.

The Peel police district already had made significant changes as a result of the CCC findings and the Internal Affairs Unit had reviewed its quality control practices, he said.

One of the inadequately handled misconduct cases involved a police helicopter filming a man being attacked by a police dog and Tasered after he had surrendered at the end of a high-speed pursuit.

While an internal investigation of a detective accused of sexual assault later led to a CCC investigation that resulted in the detective being convicted of various offences including unlawfully using a police computer to contact vulnerable females.


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