THE POLICE INTEGRITY COMMISSION
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a summary and general overview only. It is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. You should seek legal advice from a barrister or solicitor working in the area of criminal and/or human rights law before acting or relying on any of its content.
The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) is an independent and accountable body whose primary function is to detect, investigate, and prevent corruption and other serious misconduct by police.
The PIC is prevented from employing currently serving or former members of the NSW Police Force on staff. As an independent body it employs:
Police investigators drawn from other Australian jurisdictions, and overseas police services (this is to avoid conflict of interest issues); and
Operations and Research Analysts.
According to the Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 (NSW), the PIC has a number of responsibilities including:
Protecting the public interest by preventing and dealing with officer misconduct (s 3(c)).
Auditing and monitoring various aspects of the procedures and operations of the NSW Police Force and the New South Wales Crime Commission (s 3(d)).
To assess matters not completed by the Police Royal Commission (s 13(c)).
To undertake inquiries into police activities in order to determine issues of police misconduct; monitor investigations management by NSW Police; make recommendations about education and prevention programs concerning police corruption, and advise authorities on methods to eliminate police misconduct (s 14).
To collect evidence that may be admissible in the prosecution of an individual for a criminal offence and that may be used in the investigation of a police complaint, Crime Commission officer complaint, or administrative officer complaint (s 15).
Types of Misconduct – Police Officers
It is at the discretion of the PIC to investigate serious forms of police, civilian officer, and Crime Commission Officer misconduct. In relation to NSW Police, PIC will consider information that indicates the involvement of police in:
Solicitation of bribes;
Perverting justice such as tampering with evidence and releasing confidential information;
Improper relationships with criminals;
Supply, cultivation or manufacture of prohibited drugs; or
Crimes attracting five years imprisonment or more.
The PIC may conduct an investigation of:
Its own initiative;
A police, administrative officer, or Crime Commission officer complaint made or referred to the PIC; or
A report made to the PIC.
In determining whether to conduct, continue or discontinue an investigation, it may consider the following (s 23(3)):
The triviality of the subject matter of the investigation;
The remoteness of the conduct of matter concerned in justifying an investigation; or
Whether the complaint made against police, Crime Commission officer, or administrative officer was frivolous or not in good faith.
The main purpose of the investigation by the PIC is to make recommendations and assessments or express opinions and communicate these results to Parliament. It can also refer matters to prosecutorial agencies such as the DPP.
Posted by Sebastian De Brennan, Barrister, email@example.com