Public Interest Disclosure
Complaints against police
A person wanting to make a complaint about the conduct of a police officer may do so in accordance with the provisions of section 44 of the Police Service Act 2003, and the Commissioner’s Directions for Conduct and Complaint Management, and Compliance Review (commonly referred to as Abacus). Abacus is available by clicking here.
Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002
The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002 is an Act:
- to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies;
- to protect persons making those disclosures, and others, from detrimental action;
- to provide for the matters disclosed to be properly investigated and dealt with; and
- to provide all parties involved in the disclosures with natural justice.
The public interest is served by providing an avenue for persons to report improper conduct and to be protected for doing so.
In accordance with the Act, DPFEM is required to establish public interest disclosure procedures that comply with guidelines and standards set by the Ombudsman Tasmania. The Ombudsman has approved the current DPFEM procedures, which are available by clicking here.
Making a Public Interest Disclosure
A person may make a disclosure concerning improper conduct or detrimental action taken by the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management (DPFEM), or one of its employees. Generally speaking, public interest disclosures may only be made by an employee of DPFEM, or a contractor who has entered into a contract with DPFEM. The Act does create an exception for persons who are not employees or contractors of DPFEM, however, a public interest test is to be applied by the person to whom the disclosure is made.
Persons wishing to make a public interest disclosure are encouraged to read the DPFEM procedures, prior to making the disclosure, as this will assist the person to gain a better understanding of the process. It should be noted that:
- All disclosures concerning police officers (other than the Commissioner of Police), whether written or oral, should be made to the Commissioner of Police.
- All disclosures in writing concerning other members of DPFEM should be made to the Secretary of the Department or to a Public Interest Disclosure Officer (as listed below).
- Oral disclosures concerning members of the Department (other than police officers), may be made by telephone or in person to any member of the Department, but it would expedite the consideration of oral disclosures, if they were made to a Public Interest Disclosure Officer.
- A disclosure that relates to the Commissioner of Police, is to be made to the Ombudsman.
DPFEM members occupying the following positions are Public Interest Disclosure Officers:
- Inspector, Internal Investigations, Professional Standards, Tasmania Police
- Inspector, Legislation Development & Review Services, Strategy and Support, Business and Executive Services
- Director, Forensic Science Service Tasmania
- Director, Community Fire Safety, Tasmania Fire Service
- Regional Chief, North West Region, Tasmania Fire Service
- Assistant Director, Operations and Resources, State Emergency Service
- Assistant Director, Emergency Management, State Emergency Service.
It is recommended that written disclosures concerning Tasmania Police or any of its members be placed in a sealed envelope, marked ‘confidential’, and be addressed to the recipient at:
GPO Box 308
HOBART TAS 7001