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Improvements to Police Conduct Authority Welcomed

17 December 2007

Greens welcome improvements to Police Conduct Authority

The Green Party is welcoming yesterday's announcement by the Government to improve the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

The Government's proposals go much further than the recommendations of the Review of the Police Complaints Authority by Sir Rodney Gallen in 2000, and pick up a number of concerns expressed by the Green Party in relation to that review.

Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says that: "A particularly significant change will amend the current secrecy and privilege provisions so that information gathered during the Authority's investigations can be used in subsequent proceedings.

"There are important proposals to enable the Authority to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution and to make the Official Information Act apply to the Authority.

"While the Gallen report was an important work, it was very cautious in its recommendations around the secrecy of evidence and on criminal prosecutions arising from their investigations," Nandor says.

"These announcements are a major step forward. They remove long standing legislative blocks that prevent the Authority being truly effective."

In addition the Greens are hailing a move away from a complaints-driven Authority.

"The Authority is prevented at the moment from looking at systemic issues by being totally complaints-driven. The move to allow own motion investigations is highly significant and will allow the Authority to investigate Police culture and uncover any widespread problems."

ENDS

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