Our policy on releasing information
We recognise that the media has an important role in reporting on our investigations, public inquiries, reports and publications. We also understand that they have the right to report matters of public interest, free of unnecessary official restraint or vetting of information.
At the same time, those who bring their complaints to us, and those we investigate are entitled to privacy and confidentiality throughout the process.
These competing interests require us to strike a balance between the rights of individuals on the one hand and those of the community on the other.
Current complaints and investigations
In general, we neither confirm nor deny the existence, or any aspect, of any current alleged complaint or investigation unless the complainant or agency has made it publicly known.
However, depending on the circumstances (e.g. where the facts have been misrepresented or distorted), we may comment on matters that have been or are about to be discussed on the public record.
If we receive a request for information about a completed investigation, we will generally advise if the investigation has been finalised. We will provide additional information on the result only if the level of public interest warrants this.
Constraints on releasing information
We are constrained by s. 213(3)(b) of the Crime and Misconduct Act to maintain confidentiality of information. So, when deciding whether or not to release it, we balance accountability considerations against the clear legislative emphasis on confidentiality.
We must also consider the interests and possible damage to the reputation of complainants, subject officers and other stakeholders, and avoid jeopardising potential court proceedings by releasing prejudicial information.
Where privacy and stakeholder considerations and the protection of operational information take on significance, they must ultimately outweigh the otherwise legitimate desire to inform the public.