Tasmanians for Transparency have called on the Attorney-General Brian Wightman and Police Minister David O’Byrne to suspend all investigations underway by Tasmania Police, the Ombudsman or the Tasmanian Integrity Commission in relation to police complaints made by members of the general public until such time as the Tasmania Police Manual is made publicly available on the Tasmania Police website.
“The Tasmania Police Manual has been unavailable to the public since March 2012 subject to being amended and updated,” said Matthew Holloway.
“Tasmanian Police are currently in breach of Section 93 of the Police Service Act which provides a statutory obligation to publish the Tasmania Police Manual.”
“Access to the Tasmanian Police Manual is absolutely essential for any person making a complaint about police conduct or misconduct to access all information about police procedures that may impact on a complainants allegations.
“Without public access to the Tasmania Police Manual a person’s ability to submit a complaint about police conduct to any Tasmania Police oversight body for independent investigation will be severely hampered.
“Current police investigations in relation to complaints across all agencies need to be suspended pending release of the Tasmania Police Manual. Under the current line of investigation, the failure for police to supply a manual detailing police procedures opens the possibility of a limited and potentially biased investigation.
“The forward by the then Police Commissioner Richard McCreadie from the police manual from 10th of December, 1999 states; “The manual provides standing orders and instructions to members of the Tasmanian police service. it also contains provisions regarding the policy methods, duties and organisation of the service all of which are to assist members to efficiently and satisfactorily discharge their duties to the government and the people of Tasmania.
“The standing orders and instructions are to be strictly complied with by all members, failure to comply may render members liable to disciplinary action.”
Without the provision of the current police manual, how can the people of Tasmania know what the standing orders and instructions are for Tasmanian police officers to comply with.
Without the provision of the standing orders a complainant may receive conflicting information in relation to their allegations from the different investigative bodies.
“Once the public have access to the Tasmania Police Manual, people whose complaints have been suspended need to be provided with assistance from a specially appointed Police Complaints Advocate independent of Tasmania Police, the Justice Department and the government.” said Matthew Holloway.