Officers deserve a fair deal: association

Legal protection for all? The Police Association fears its members have fewer rights, when it comes to procedural fairness, than those they arrest.

Legal protection for all? The Police Association fears its members have fewer rights, when it comes to procedural fairness, than those they arrest.

THE Police Association of NSW has condemned a parliamentary committee's report for rejecting changes to how police are investigated.

In January, a report by former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland recommended nine changes, including making public all guidelines and results of investigations, and merging the investigative resources of different agencies inquiring into police.

Such agencies include the Police Integrity Commission, the Ombudsman and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Last week a NSW parliamentary committee advised against implementing the recommendations.

"What Mr McClelland appears to be suggesting is a watered down version of oversight that would not be comparable even to our existing oversight of police complaint matters," the committee's report said.

It also cited objections by the Ombudsman's office and the Police Integrity Commission.

Police Association president Scott Weber said he was disappointed with the committee.

"At present police officers are not afforded procedural fairness or natural justice," Mr Weber said.

"Police officers can be directed to attend inquiries; they should be afforded the right not to self-incriminate, as other people have."

He also said allegations against police officers stayed on record, even if they were later dismissed.

"When they're found not guilty, that should be highlighted, not previous allegations," Mr Weber said.

He said the McClelland report was independent and had consulted all key stakeholders.

He said it recommended appropriate oversight of the police and transparency of procedure, but the committee had rejected that.

"If the committee members think that police oversight as it stands is fair, reasoned and acceptable, then perhaps they should be seeking other employment opportunities," Mr Weber said. "We look forward to the state government's response."

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