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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4160 ..

Mr Gentleman: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

1) ACT Policing’s ‘Suspect Interview Plan’ outlines the scripting and procedural requirements that must be followed by ACT Policing officers, to ensure that interviews with suspects satisfy legal requirements under Part 1C of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

The Interview Plan prompts officers to ask the person to be interviewed if they identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Should the answer to this question be yes, officers are required to pause the interview and arrange for an Interview Friend to be present during the interviewing process, unless the person expressly and voluntarily waives their right to an Interview Friend. The Interview Plan also requires ACT Policing officers to contact an Aboriginal Legal Assistance Organisation to notify them that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is the subject of an interview, unless the person has arranged separate legal representation to attend the interview.

After the person to be questioned is identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, ACT Policing will:

Notify an Aboriginal Legal Assistance Organisation of the intent to question the person. This is done by a phone call, and a message may be left with a follow up email.

Inform the person that a member of an Aboriginal Legal Assistance Organisation has been notified.

The person must then not be questioned until the earlier of either:

a. the Aboriginal Legal Assistance Organisation representative has communicated with the person; or

b.Two hours have elapsed since the notification.

Inform the person that police are required to contact an Interview Friend to be present. The person will be advised that they can nominate a friend, relative or legal practitioner themselves, or police can contact an Interview Friend on their behalf.

Then ensure reasonable attempts are made to contact an Interview Friend, and have them attend.

When arranging for an Interview Friend, police will suspend the interview and contact the ACT Policing Communications centre, who make contact with the on-call Interview Friend and request their attendance.

2) Anglicare Youth and Family Services provide a list of Interview Friends to ACT Policing on a monthly basis. ACT Policing do not control the process for inclusion on the list.

The list is provided as a roster for the month, for both the Northside and Southside of the ACT. There are 11 individuals providing coverage for the month of October 2021. ACT Policing utilises this list as required, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3) Due to the limitations of its current Police Records Online Management Information System (PROMIS), ACT Policing is unable to provide the number of times an interview friend or legal representative has been offered, accepted or expressly waived. As advised in response to Question 1, Part 1C of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) outlines the engagement of Interview Friends by police.

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