For The Record
22 October 2013
Last night's Four Corners program reported the deaths of two young people at Molong, near Orange, on Australia Day 2010.
The loss of two young lives on the Australia Day long weekend in 2010 was a terrible tragedy.
The Four Corner program contained views, commentary and inferences that were critical of the police investigation into this matter.
However, the most detailed and independent review of both the evidence and the investigation was effectively ignored.
This significant omission denied the program's viewers material that would benefited their understanding of these tragic events.
The Coronial Inquest was a comprehensive, independent examination of all the evidence running over seven days, taking submissions from all the parties in a court setting (a link to the Inquest's findings is below).
It was the conclusive view of the Coroner that the police investigation was "thorough" - she emphasised the point a number of times in her findings.
The investigation was reviewed and summarised by a Superintendent whose review was then examined by another Superintendent at the Professional Standards Command.
The brief of evidence was also examined by the Department of Public Prosecutions.
Magistrate Sharon Freund specifically addressed concerns of the victims' families of a conflict of interest with the police investigation. Ms Freund made it clear that the events "did not occur in a vacuum".
The inquest highlighted the steps that were taken – many of them against the interest of the driver – to ensure that the investigation was “open, transparent and thorough."
Magistrate Freund went further stating that the investigation "was not compromised by the fact that Rhys Colefax is the son of a police officer who was formerly stationed at Orange."
The Deputy Coroner drew attention to a possible anomaly in the relevant legislation in respect of taking evidentiary samples following a fatal accident on private property. Experts within the NSW Police Force and other agencies are currently considering this issue and will advise Government whether amendments are required.
The matter was subject to a thorough and detailed police investigation that has been extensively reviewed and examined internally as well as by independent external authorities.
Link to NSW Coroner's Court findings: Wannan, Eliza & William Dalton-Brown (PDF,319 kb)
4 September 2013
ABC 7.30 ran a story on Tuesday 3 September 2013 on the 2009 death of Nadine Haag. The Deputy State Coroner, Paul MacMahon, returned an open finding.
This is the statement provided to the program:
NSW Police have conducted a lengthy investigation into the death of Nadine Haag on the 3rd of December 2009.
Police met with the family on several occasions where they raised a number of issues and concerns.
As a result, the case was reviewed by The Hills Local Area Command and the Homicide Squad.
The Deputy State Coroner said that any criticism of the Officer in Charge was inappropriate and that she complied with each and every request made of her.
Magistrate Paul MacMahon also said that he was satisfied that the evidence disclosed that the "possibility of Nadine's death being self-inflicted is a real one ...[and that] it would not be possible to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that a known person has caused Nadine's death."
The NSW Police Force's Homicide Squad will review the findings of the Deputy Coroner.
21 June 2013Statement from NSW Police Force regarding ABC “Lateline” report on Catholic Church
Original documentation concerning the meetings was confidential and maintained by the NSW Professional Standards Office of the Catholic Church.
The only material that was shredded were copies of that original documentation which had been circulated to members of the Church's NSW Professional Standards Resource Group prior to each meeting.
The circumstances surrounding the appointment of representatives from the NSW Police Force to the Catholic Church's NSW Professional Standards Resource Group and the manner in which that group operated will be considered by the Special Commission of Inquiry.
NSW Police Force will continue to provide full cooperation and assistance to this Inquiry.
The Inquiry is resuming public hearings next week for a period of four weeks.
6 June 2013
Today's Sydney Morning Herald makes claims that NSW Police are "grossly over-represented" in an Australian Institute of Criminology study on police pursuit-related deaths. This statement clarifies the situation.
The Australian Institute of Criminology Report indicates that there has been a significant decline in the number of pursuits in New South Wales - down 20% since 2004.
There has also been a decline in the rate of fatal pursuits in NSW, which is also half the national average (1.1/1000 compared with 2.2/1000 nationwide).
It's important to note that states and territories have different definitions of pursuits. In addition, NSW has 1/3 of Australia's population and 5.2 million registered vehicles and 4.6 million licensed drivers.
NSW Police adhere to strict protocols when engaging in pursuits to ensure the safety of the public. If all drivers conduct themselves within the law and stop when signalled to do so by police, there would be no need for pursuits.
10 May 2013
Below, please find details regarding the Mounted Police Unit's new agistment facilities in Sydney's Inner West.
The NSW Police Force Mounted Unit is delighted to have been offered access to 13 hectares of land in Sydney’s Inner West for its team of horses to rest.
The Sydney Local Health District has signed an agreement with the Mounted Unit allowing the agistment of police horses within the Yaralla Estate, situated off Nullawarra Avenue, Concord West.
The agreement is in keeping with The Walker Trust Act of 1938, designating the estate, also known as the Dame Eadith Walker and Thomas Walker Estates, for horse agistment and spelling.
Commander of the NSW Police Force's Mounted Police Unit, Inspector Kirsten McFadden, said the new facility would make a huge difference to the unit's horse agistment program.
“The training and agistment facility at the Dame Eadith Walker Estate provides the perfect fit for the NSW Police Force’s Mounted Police Unit,” said Insp McFadden.
“In recent times we have had to utilise a number of different properties for horse agistment. Unfortunately, over the past four years, the number of available properties has decreased, leaving us with a limited amount of space spread across a variety of different locations.
“The Dame Eadith Walker Estate provides sufficient space, stabling and secure buildings, all in one location centrally located between our primary areas of operation – Sydney’s CBD and the western suburbs.
“While we will maintain our operational base at Redfern, the agistment facilities at the estate will enable us to deploy faster and more efficiently than ever before. Plus, our horses will benefit from more regular agistment in a spacious and familiar environment.”
Insp McFadden added that the Mounted Police Unit's use of the estate will be mutually beneficial - for both police and local stakeholders.
“Our unit is the oldest continuously operating mounted police unit in the world, and we have a wealth of experience and expertise in horse and stable management,” Insp McFadden said.
“Not only does this arrangement benefit our officers and horses, we are confident our presence will benefit the facility.”
The Mounted Unit will continue its long tradition of allowing public access to the facility and opportunities to visit the horses.
“In addition, we will run regular open days to give insight into the Mounted Unit and policing in general.”
It is anticipated the Mounted Unit will begin agistment at the Yaralla Estate later in the year.
“We would like to thank the Department of Health for offering us the use of this excellent facility and we look forward to working closely with the Sydney Local Health District over the coming years,” Insp McFadden said.
30 April 2013
Today's (30/4/13) Daily Telegraph states that a lack of resources has prevented the Child Abuse Squad from arresting 50 offenders. This statement clarifies the situation.
There has been a substantial increase in the reporting of crimes against children in the past three to five years which has considerably increased the workload of the Child Abuse Squad.
As a result, the Child Abuse Squad, together with Human Resources, conducted an extensive review into the workload and capabilities of the squad.
A number of recommendations, including an increase in detectives, were made to the Police Executive.
At the time those recommendation were submitted (January 2013), there were approximately 50 offenders outstanding following CAS investigations. All of those offenders were arrested in the subsequent weeks.
The Child Abuse Squad assesses and prioritises all investigations on risk-basis, meaning that incidents where children remain at imminent risk are dealt with immediately.
Since the report was completed (January) the Child Abuse Squad has received 10 additional positions.
26 April 2013
Ten News this evening reported there had been a “spike” in graffiti crime, with record numbers of tags and murals suggesting an “epidemic” in this crime.
The fact is that there has been a increase in the reporting of graffiti. An increase in reporting does not equal an increase in attacks. The follow statement was provided to Ten News but was only partially reported.
NSW POLICE STATEMENT
Combating graffiti on the NSW public transport network is a priority for NSW Police and the Police Transport Command in particular.
In the last 12 months, 609 people have been arrested for graffiti and graffiti related offences on the transport network.
There has been an increase in the reporting of malicious damage due to the fact that the NSW Police Force has been encouraging reporting by Railcorp to assist in our intelligence base, safety by design responses and overall knowledge of tags, locations, times and dates. The increase was anticipated and incorporated in operational planning by the PTC.
The current command response is significantly more effective than the old Rail Vandalism Taskforce. The entire command is focused on combating graffiti across the transport network.
16 April 2013
The Channel Ten story on the Police Transport Command (15/4) makes false and misleading claims that the establishment of the PTC is not going to plan and that rail passengers are in more danger now than before the PTC was established.
The establishment of the Command has always been planned as a staged process with 610 officers patrolling the state's public transport network by 2014. The PTC has 305 officers - not 284 as was reported by Channel 10. The 'actual' strength figure of 284 was from the Operational Strength figures that were current as of 14 December 2012 (although operational strength does not count those on long term sick leave, maternity leave etc). The PTC is recruiting all the time and by the 14th of May is expected to have 325 officers.
The Police Transport Command is committed to improving public safety on or near near public transport networks by reducing the level of personal and property crime, reducing anti-social behaviour, improving passenger safety and reducing the fear of crime, and improving the co-ordination of safety and policing services on public transport.
Police have more powers to deal with crime when it occurs, police can respond quicker to incidents when they happen and regular operations are planned and conducted on the transport network - based on intelligence - to prevent and respond to incidents on the transport network.
Since the Command was established on the 1st of May last year, the PTC has made more than 1800 arrests, laid over 3200 charges, issued more than 31000 infringements and conducted over 3700 actions under the Young Offenders Act for a range of offences, including graffiti and fare evasion.
3 April 2013
The following information relates to a 'denial of whistleblower status' story that appeared on the ABC 7:30 Report on 2 April 2013.
The officer sought to make several disclosures under the NSW Public Interest Disclosures Act.
One disclosure was declined because it didn't meet the requirements of the legislation.
The remaining matters were deemed to be protected disclosures meaning the officer is afforded protection under the Act.
In addition, the officer is automatically afforded protection for information disclosures, under the NSW Police Act and the Force's own internal policies.
The officer has been informed of these outcomes.
8 February 2013
There is a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald which suggests Middle Eastern leaders are unhappy that the newly formed Operation Apollo is focused solely on the Middle Eastern community.
The head of Operation Apollo, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis says that is not the case:
"We need to do everything in our power to address this problem,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.
“There are too many guns in the community and they are being accessed by criminals.
"Apollo builds on the success of Operation Spartan using the criminal investigation and criminal targeting expertise of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (MEOCS) in conjunction with the local knowledge and community engagement of Local Area Commands.
“MEOCS also has the existing structure of uniformed police, highway patrol and investigative capacity to disrupt those carrying guns and investigate gun crime.
"Importantly, this is not about targeting a particular community group. In fact, its the opposite. We cannot solve the gun crime problem alone and the relationship with all sections of our community is critical to the success of this operation. Indeed, we are seeing some healthy signs with investigators receiving valuable support and co-operation from community members that is helping us solve crimes and take guns from those who shouldn't have them.
"I want to reassure you that we will continue to listen and consult. We need to work together to make our community a safer place for all our families."
5 February 2013
The New South Wales Police Force notes the story posted on the ITNews website on 29th January 2013, regarding a case between Micro Focus and the NSWPF.
NSWPF believes the article is misleading and inaccurate.
Below is a comment provided by the other party in this dispute - Micro Focus.
“The Micro Focus representative quoted in this article was not authorised to speak to any media about this matter which is a private matter between Micro Focus and our client. The contents of the article do not reflect the views of Micro Focus and do not provide an accurate summary of the terms of the settlement, the chronology of the proceedings or the conduct of the parties, nor the circumstances leading to the settlement.”
19 December 2012
The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Nine News on 18 December 2012.
In response to Channel Nine's story (18/12/12) on transporting prisoners by NSW Police Force.
NSW Police Force has traditionally transported all prisoners. The NSWPF is still required to transport some juvenile offenders and adult female offenders.
Where the travelling distance is 250km or further, one-way, prisoners are transported by air mostly by propeller aircraft (in the last 6 months 12 out of 83 flights were by jet). Transporting prisoners by air has been carried out by NSW Police for decades. It improves;
* Community safety, by reducing the time escorting police are out of their commands
* The safety of transporting officers and prisoners
* The speed of the transportation process
A jet has the added benefit of having a significantly higher level of safety, speed and flexibility. It is able to fly through storms or at higher altitudes and for longer to avoid bad weather which may ground propeller craft. In some instances, a jet is the only aircraft available.
Transporting prisoners by air costs the NSWPF about $800 000 per year.
21 August 2012
The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Nine News on 21 August 2012
You may have seen a report on a 2010 decision by NSW Police to reject a user-pays request from the Kings Cross Licensing Accord. For the record, the truth of the situation is:
"NSW Police Force gave due consideration to a lengthy application for user pays police at Kings Cross. During the process, there was extensive and regular consultation between the Kings Cross Licensing Accord and senior NSW Police.
"The decision to reject the application was made because it was restrictive, only applying to "stakeholders in this proposal" and limiting the ability of police to respond to crime outside those venues.
"The Cost Recovery and User Charges policy also says that these services should not involve static guard duty; moreover, the supplementary provisions of the policy clearly state that the Force "does not enter into a supplementary policing arrangement for the sole benefit of licensed premises, registered clubs or the casino".
"And the application presented a serious conflict of interest for police, particular in terms of our ability to impartially enforce the provision of the Liquor Act.
"20-30 additional officers are already rostered on duty in Kings Cross on Friday and Saturday nights. That number is increased further in summer."
9 July 2012
Police cautions in road matters
The following information relates to a story aired on Channel Seven News on 9 July 2012
- There is no systemic issue with failed prosecutions in traffic matters due to police not providing cautions
- No recurring issues have arisen from Failed Prosecutions Review Committees
- Cautions are NOT required in many traffic related cases - covered by various pieces of legislation
- Every driver is required to state his or her name, home address, and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle
- If the vehicle is involved in a collision, the driver is required to provide the police officer with an explanation of the circumstances of the crash'
- The person responsible for the vehicle (eg registered operator or custodian) is also required to provide police with the name and address of the person who was driving it if it is alleged that the vehicle was involved in an offence under Road Transport legislation. Thus if the registered operator was the driver at the relevant time, he or she is obliged to admit that fact
- Prosecutors rely on the evidence the officer gives of his or her observations and in most cases NOT the offender's admissions to the police officer - therefore absence of a caution is rarely relevant
26th April 2012
NSW Police Force response to claims on ABC TV 7.30 Program regarding civil action over software copyright.
This matter is a contract dispute between two parties which is currently the subject of civil action.
NSW Police firmly maintains that it paid for a site licence which entitled all police users to use that software. Site licences are not uncommon.
Furthermore, this site license expressly permitted NSWPF to use the software after the expiry of the maintenance contract in 2003.
In relation to other aspects of the claim, NSW Police has made reasonable offers to settle but these offers have been rejected.
The company also declined NSWPF offers for mediation before starting proceedings.
The NSWPF also strongly rejects suggestions it involved lawyers in discussions with the company without consultation. The company had every opportunity to attend with its own lawyers.
Further, NSWPF does not concur with the company’s calculation of costs to the Force should the company be successful with its civil action.
NSWPF also denies fresh claims in relation to the NetManage Applet and will vigorously contest the matter.
5th March 2012
The following information was supplied to ABC Television's Four Corners program for an episode that aired on 5 March 2012.
The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) is investigating the NSW Police Force's critical incident investigation into the Salter matter. Until the PIC finalises its inquiries we cannot comment on this matter any further.
The Force conducts thousands of internal investigations every year. The system of independent oversight by a number of authorities including the Police Integrity Commission and the NSW Ombudsman ensures that investigations are robust, transparent and effective.
In 2011, NSWPF received 5320 complaints that were oversighted by the Ombudsman. Of these 4530 were triaged and resolved with the complainants. Of the remaining 790, 30 per cent were sustained.
In 2011, three officers were dismissed by the Commissioner.
The NSW Police Force has played a leading role in developing the best possible policing responses to mental health issues.
In 2010, NSW Police responded to 36,500 mental-health related incidents under the Mental Health Act 2007.
NSWPF has been at the forefront of policing and mental health in Australia.
We are training, on average, one class a month for frontline police across the state in a four-day Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT) training program. More than 700 officers have undergone the training program since its inception in 2007. The Force has committed to training 10 per cent of all operational police by 2015. The program has now been adopted by the ACT Police.
NSW Police is also developing a one-day intensive mental health training program.
NSW Police is involved in several NSW Government research projects including Mental Health Frequent Presenters and Mental Health and Cognitive Disability in the NSW Criminal Justice System.
- We have trained over 700 frontline police in the 4-day training program
- The program has been adopted by ACT AFP
- We present regularly to carers and consumer groups, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and many others
- We have plans to train all frontline police in mental health issues
- We provide advice and guidance to the field on operational policing issues as well as manage policy and strategy provisions for the NSWPF
- We have presented internationally in Europe, USA and Canada
- We are a member of the worldwide Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) International - a body that brings together police forces which have similar programs to the MHIT
15 December 2011
Mythbuster: reports on the "record failure" of NSWPF Drug Detection dogs are false and misleading.
The figures quoted were provided to NSW Parliament by the Dog Unit but have been misinterpreted.
The report states that there have been "a record 80% false positives" because only 20% of searches resulted in drug seizures.
Of the 17,198 searches by drugs dogs so far this year:
- 27% have resulted in drug seizures;
- 61% have resulted in "residual admit' (no actual drugs found but the person searched admitted to having had contact with drugs, explaining the odour that the drug detection dog has indicated);
- 15% have resulted in "residual deny" (no actual drugs found and the person doesn't admit to having had contact with drugs, attributable to limited powers to conduct more intrusive searches and the person being untruthful about being in contact with drugs).
The total comes to 103% because when multiple types of drugs are detected, the system records the seizures separately but it's not recorded as an additional search.
Sniffer dogs are close to 100% accurate.
They are an important facet of the overall harm minimisation strategy of NSWPF.
In addition, the dogs have a strong deterrence factor: they not only lead to the seizure of drugs from dealers and users, but people also dump their drugs when they see the dogs. Thus these drugs are not consumed and the risk avoided.
The majority of person searches conducted by NSW Police do not involve the use of a drug detection dog. However, in the instances the animals are used, police use other observations - in conjunction with the dog's indication - to form the reasonable cause for a personal search.
Here are the links to the two articles:
4 November 2011
On Thursday night, the Police Association of NSW issued a statement to members that indicated that the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione had, during a media conference, criticised payments to individual officers under the NSW Police Death and Disability Scheme.
The Commissioner was quoted in the statement as having said "I have seen the payment, they are phone numbers."
Unfortunately, these quotes are not correct and at no stage during Thursday's media conference did the Commissioner make any reference to individual payments to officers, let alone criticise those payments.
For the record, the Commissioner referred only to figures quoted by the Police Minister which related to the escalating cost of the total scheme in successive years.
This is what Minister Gallacher said.
"It's quite significant. In fact to give you an idea, this will bring down the running costs quite significantly. If I can give you an idea, just last year alone, if you couple together death and disability, workers comp, top up and hindsight adjustment - $460 million dollars last year.
"This year, in exactly the same areas, workers comp, death and disability, top up, hindsight, $762 million.
"Next year bring down quite considerably, my understanding is we will see it back down I think about 66 million next year."
This is what the Police Commissioner said.
"It is most important to understand that from my perspective this is really about the more we can get back, the better it'll be. And you've heard some of the figures quoted by the Minister.......you know, they're telephone numbers. They're extraordinarily big amounts of money. He quoted a figure there from my perspective when he talked about seven hundred and sixty odd million.
"That's approaching half of all the money I will spend this year on police salaries."