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SAPOL Secrecy Must End

Greens Police Spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC has renewed her party’s call for greater transparency on police misconduct following news that Police Commissioner Grant Stevens will not release details about police officers at the centre of proven or admitted misconduct, despite a request from the state's Ombudsman. 

The Police Complaints and Discipline Act protects officers' identities, making it unlawful to publish information that suggests that a particular person is the subject of a complaint, report, assessment, or investigation. 

In a 2020 review of the Act, former District Court judge Gordon Barrett recommended the law be changed to require the Police Commissioner to make public media statements outlining proven and admitted police misconduct as soon as reasonably practicable without identifying the specific officer. 

A committee of the State Parliament is currently reviewing the Police Complaints and Discipline Act. 

Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC: 

“For far too long we've seen secrecy prevail in South Australia where police have been found to have done the wrong thing by quirk of secrecy provisions that shield our law enforcement officers from public scrutiny.” 

“SA is out of step with these secrecy provisions that protect wrongdoing by those whose job it is to enforce our laws. They should be held to the highest account, not treated as a protected species if they are found to have engaged in misconduct. The Police Commissioner's refusal to release information to the media and the Ombudsman is far from satisfactory.” 

“The Police Complaints and Discipline Act urgently needs to be reformed to take these decisions out of the hands of the police themselves and put public interest first.” 

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