Page 3102 - Week 08 - Thursday, 7 August 2008
also displaced if the participant does not act in accordance with the instructions of the law enforcement officer managing the participant’s conduct.
The third component of the bill is the accountability of each and every controlled operation. Within two months after the completion of every controlled operation, the officer in charge of the operation must provide the chief officer with a report about the operation. The report must articulate the nature of the controlled conduct exercised during the operation, details of the outcome, the nature, quantity and transmission of any illicit goods involved and details of any personal injuries or damage to property occurring as a direct result of the operation.
The chief officer, in turn, must provide my office and me—or the appropriate minister—with a report every year which includes: reporting on the number of operations authorised; the criminal activities targeted by the operations; the nature of the controlled conduct used in the operations; the nature, quantity and transmission of any illicit goods involved; details of any personal injuries or damage to property occurring as a direct result of the operation; and any arrests and prosecutions arising from the operations. In turn, the responsible minister must table a copy of the report in the Assembly within 15 days of receipt.
The chief officer, in addition, must register every application made under the bill, every authorisation made under the bill and details of the completion of every operation. The bill also empowers the Ombudsman to inspect the records made under the bill and requires the chief officer to give the Ombudsman any assistance required by them. In summary, the overarching theme of the bill is accountability and clear lines of authority to engage in a controlled operation.
I note Dr Foskey has said that she is concerned that the bill will aid corruption. I do not see the logic in her argument. Having a statutory framework for controlled operations improves accountability and in fact makes it harder for corruption to occur. Dr Foskey went on to say that we cannot even trust organisations such as the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, which is a commonwealth body empowered to prevent, detect and investigate corruption in the Australian Federal Police. Indeed, it would appear that Dr Foskey was not even aware of ACLEI’s existence until I responded to her initial claims about this bill in the media in the last week. ACLEI’s jurisdiction explicitly covers ACT Policing.
I note that Dr Foskey has also criticised the ability of the Ombudsman to oversight police conduct when it comes to controlled operations. I again reject this assertion. The ACT Ombudsman’s office, which is an office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, has shown itself to be highly capable and professional in identifying misconduct on the part of Australian Federal Police officers within ACT Policing and to scrutinise, report on and highlight any inadequacies in the conduct of police officers in their duties. I would draw to your attention, Mr Speaker, and to Dr Foskey’s attention, reports such as those made into abuses in the watch-house, released last year. I would also draw to Dr Foskey’s attention numerous other reports by the Ombudsman, highlighting inadequacies and highlighting the police response to those. In short, we have a strong oversight mechanism in place.