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Police complaints go public in nation first

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Simon Corbell.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Simon Corbell. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The ACT will be the first state or territory to make quarterly reports on complaints against their police service public.

The move is one of a raft of new measures introduced into the 2013-14 Purchase Agreement between the ACT government and ACT Policing settled recently.

Complaints contained in the reports will range from minor management and customer service matters to conduct involving breaches of criminal law and corruption.

A spokeswoman for Minister for Police and Emergency Services Simon Corbell said the number of complaints had previously been a performance measure in the agreement, which was a narrow representation of the complaints against police.

“The report, now to be publicly released, is a comprehensive breakdown of the numbers, types and status of complaints against police," she said. “It includes all complaint types. It is understood that no other state or territory provide quarterly reports to the public on complaints against police."

ACT Policing and other police are required to provide details of complaints in their annual reports.

In the 2011-12 annual report there were 229 complaints, of which 30 per cent were either self-reported or were reported by an AFP member. Of the 768 issues relating to the complaints, there were 84 “established” complaints where appropriate action was taken out of the 359 issues that were finalised.

“The public provision of this information is a robust and transparent demonstration of the importance of professional police conduct in all dealings with the ACT community," the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile the new agreement also raises the bar on six target areas that include levels of crime, police responsiveness, supporting the judicial process and crime prevention. One of the biggest changes will be an increase to the number of young people referred to restorative justice. This will increase by 32 per cent.

“These target rises have been made on the basis that ACT Policing has been outperforming the original targets set, particularly in the past three years," the spokeswoman said.

- The Chronicle

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