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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 293 ..

Answers to questions

Police conversations with motorists-recording

(Question No 316)

Mr Stanhope asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 28 November 2000:

In relation to Australian Federal Police (AFP) procedures for recording conversations with motorists:

1. When did the AFP introduce the procedure of recording conversations with motorists stopped for questioning about alleged traffic offences.

2. Are these conversations recorded on:

(a) video;

(b) audio tape; or

(c) both.

3. What becomes of the recorded conversation.

4. Did the AFP seek advice from the Privacy Commissioner before instituting this procedure.

5. If so, what advice did the Privacy Commissioner give.

6. What procedures have the AFP instituted to ensure motorists are warned that the conversation is being recorded and that the Information Privacy principles are not being breached:

7. Were the public notified of the new procedures and, if so, when.

Mr Smyth: The answers to Mr Stanhope's questions are as follows:

1. The AFP has not implemented any procedure for recording conversations with motorists regarding alleged traffic offences. However, some members of the AFP have been recording conversations with motorist for approximately the past three years. These members are generally motorcyclists who, operating alone and uncorroborated by another member of the AFP, have adopted this procedure to protect themselves against possibly vexatious complaints from motorists.

Section 4 (3)(b)(i) of the Listening Devices Act 1992 (the Act) allows for the recording of a conversation between two or more parties as long as a principal party believes it necessary on reasonable grounds to protect their lawful interests.

2. These conversations are recorded on micro audiocassette format only.

3. In instances where members use the tape as part of their statement preparation, the member should lodge/or archive the original tape along with other records made by the member, for ease of retrieval at a later time if required. However, there have been instances where this procedure has not been followed and steps have been taken to remedy this at a training level.

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