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Review into Police Complaints and Discipline Act completed

24 April 2020

An independent review of South Australia's Police Complaints and Discipline Act has recommended ways to streamline processes and improve the way in which complaints against police officers are dealt with. 

Retired District Court Judge Gordon Barrett QC was appointed to review the Act in November last year, and has made 35 recommendations to ensure ready access to the complaints mechanism, robust independent oversight of the investigation, timely resolution of complaints, good communication of the processing and outcome of complaints, and transparency in the system. 

"This is a comprehensive review that has considered submissions from the Independent Commission Against Corruption, South Australia Police, the Police Association, the Commissioner for Victims' Rights, the Legal Services Commission and the Advertiser, which has taken a strong interest in the publication of details of complaints," Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said. 

"In addition, he has considered the findings of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption's recent review." 

Key recommendations include:

  • Giving the Office for Public Integrity the ability to refer a matter on its own initiative to SAPOL's Internal Investigation Service for assessment
  • Giving the ICAC the power to report to Parliament on its assessment and oversight of complaints made under the Act
  • Establishing an abbreviated disciplinary proceeding, and a common database which illustrates the incidence, disposition and outcome of complaints and reports
  • Amending the Act to mandate that the Commissioner of Police release a public statement outlining the details of an officer's admitted or proved conduct, while not disclosing the officer's identity. 
  • "Each of these recommendations has taken into account the views of all relevant key stakeholders," Attorney-General Chapman said.

"The Government will consider Judge Barrett's findings in detail and present its response in due course."