Wednesday, August 03, 2022

The IPCA wants teeth

There's an interesting select committee report out today, from the Petitions Committee on the Petition of Conrad Petersen: The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA). The petitioner raises some concerns about the slowness of the IPCA process and its lack of oversight, and suggests some solutions. The committee doesn't seem keen on them. But they did ask the IPCA what it thought, and the IPCA had some suggestions of its own...

The most boring one is greater oversight over the 75% of complaints they refer back to police, where basicly they don't get to say anything about it until the police get back to them with a "nothing to see here, guv". The IPCA expresses clear doubts over the police's ability to investigate themselves (which is basicly why the IPCA exists), but weirdly wants to keep letting them.

More interestingly, they want to be involved in police employment decisions following investigations; the power to conduct "own-motion" complaints rather than having to wait for an individual complaint or a referral from the police (who seem to drag their feet where they can); and, most explosively, the power to prosecute independently of police (which would require changes to the law to allow information given to the IPCA to be used in court).

This is basicly the agenda critics of the IPCA have been calling for for years. And now the IPCA supports it. The select committee meanwhile says "no hurry, eh?" and recommends that the government "consider the IPCA submission in due course", but it seems more urgent than that. Is there any MP willing to take a member's bill to give the IPCA what it wants?