LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – I reassure Territorians that the conduct of the former Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police will be vigorously investigated.
Investigations are underway on a number of fronts, meaning the issue will be examined by a number of independent agencies.
We have the Solicitor for the Northern Territory, the Ombudsman and the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner all looking into the matter.
I have full confidence in the ability of these bodies to identify any potential misconduct and examine all relevant information.
They will then determine what actions are required and the agencies will refer their findings to the appropriate agency, including the Director of Public Prosecutions if warranted.
The Public Interest Commissioner has made the correct decision to stand aside having declared a conflict of interest in the matter.
The Commissioner did this on January 10, less than a day after the allegations regarding the former commissioner were raised with Government and prior to any substantive decisions were made about subsequent investigations.
This is precisely what should have occurred so public confidence in the investigation could be maintained.
The investigation is now been conducted by Ms Caroline Norrington, a former Crown prosecutor, university lecturer in evidence and criminology and a solicitor and barrister. Ms Norrington has 11 years’ experience as a legal practitioner and public interest disclosure investigator.
I expect the investigation conducted under Ms Norrington will be fearless and if the Office of the Public Interest Commissioner decides it needs additional resources or advice they have my support in seeking it.
In addition, the Solicitor for the Northern Territory is investigating a number of issues arising from the resignation of the former commissioner:
• whether anything in the conduct of the suspended senior Police Officer warrants taking action against that officer other than suspension;
• whether anything in the conduct of former Commissioner prior to his resignation could constitute a breach of the NT Police Force Code of Conduct and Ethics or a breach of any criminal offence provision;
• whether any of the actions of former Commissioner and/or the suspended officer involved any conflict of interest, and if so the nature of such conflict and
• whether any changes may be required to existing Police policies, protocols or procedures governing conflicts of interest.
The Government has acted swiftly when it was made aware of allegations regarding the former commissioner’s conduct on January 9.
We then moved quickly to trigger an investigation into the allegations and commenced the process which saw the Commissioner resign a few days later.
It’s now time for these investigations to be allowed to proceed at arm’s length from both Government and Police. This is the proper way they should operate and it is what is occurring.
Once complete, the Ombudsman will report findings to the Legislative Assembly and the Public Interest Commissioner will advise the Police Commissioner of the outcome of the investigation, who in turn would brief the Police Minister.
The Solicitor for the Northern Territory will advise the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner of the outcome of that investigation.
Chief Minister Adam Giles
LETTER TO THE EDITOR