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New Police Complaints Authority could be expanded

New Police Complaints Authority could be expanded

The Independent Police Complaints Authority could be expanded to deal with prison inmate complaints, says National Police spokesman and former Justice Minister, Tony Ryall.

"The same arguments about police investigating police apply equally to Corrections staff investigating prison officers. There would also be financial savings and other efficiencies in such an amalgamation," he says.

Parliament this afternoon began debate on a bill to establish the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

"Currently inmate complaints of mistreatment, breaches of rights and illegality are dealt with by a five-person Inspectorate in the Corrections Department and a three-person team in the Ombudsmen's Office," says Mr Ryall.

"Last year the Inspectorate dealt with 2000 formal complaints and the Ombudsmen's Office dealt with a similar number. Very few complaints were upheld.

"The investigative skills and processes of investigating police and inmate complaints are quite consistent. In my view, this isn't the Department's or the Ombudsmen's core business, and inmates' formal complaints could be sorted out elsewhere," says Mr Ryall.

National will be seeking submitters' views on this proposal during the select committee process.

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