CJC rejects power hand-back

by Chris Griffith
Written May 1993


my face


Criminal Justice Commission chairman Rob O'Regan, QC, yesterday rejected a claim that the CJC was handing back to the Police Service the power to investigate serious complaints against police officers -- including alleged graft and corruption.

Mr O'Regan was responding to reports that police were investigating alleged police illegal activity, misconduct, and official misconduct as the CJC referred back to the Service the processing of complaints against police.

However Mr O'Regan said the CJC sometimes gave police a role in investigating serious police internal complaints including alleged criminal offences.

"The investigation of some criminal offences [by police] may require an immediate response to preserve evidence and the commission gratefully accepts interim assistance by the Police Service in this regard," Mr O'Regan said.

"In other instances, in remote locations, the commission is agreeable to investigations being undertaken by [Police Service] commissioned officers nominated by the Regional Assistant Commissioner in consultation with the CJC," he said.

Last year the CJC agreed that the Police Service's Professional Standards Unit could handle less serious disciplinary matters which comprise around 80 percent of complaints. However investigations of serious allegations has remained firmly with the commission.

Mr O'Regan said this would not change.

"Allegations of official corruption and graft fall into a distinct category. They are invariably investigated by the CJC, and not the Police Service - that practice will certainly continue," Mr O'Regan said.

Police Union president Senior Sergeant John O'Gorman yesterday supported the CJC's role in investigating official misconduct, saying "that's the way it should be".

"It is extremely necessary there be a body like the CJC to oversee the investigation of complaints against police even if only to placate genuine public concerns about police hiding allegations," he said.