Oversight and monitoring
To ensure that public sector agencies, including the Queensland Police Service (QPS) properly investigate matters referred to them, we monitor their performance and hold them accountable for how they have acted. This enables us to identify any deficiencies in their processes and recommend strategies to address them.
Our monitoring can include:
- overseeing an investigation while it is taking place (and helping to interview witnesses if necessary)
- reviewing an agency’s finalised investigation report before any disciplinary or other managerial action is taken, to ensure the matter has been dealt with properly and that the suggested outcomes are warranted
- after a matter has been finalised, reviewing how an agency dealt with a complaint
- auditing how an agency has dealt with a general class of complaints (e.g. , police use of illicit drugs or excessive force)
- auditing an agency’s overall integrity framework, including its policies and systems for complaints management
- recording outcome data for all referred matters to inform analysis of complaint trends and areas that may require closer monitoring
- reviewing the outcomes of all misconduct disciplinary hearings conducted by the QPS, and exercising our review rights where necessary.
Reviewing our original assessment
If information that would have affected our original assessment of a complaint comes to our notice when we are monitoring how an agency is handling a matter, we have a right to review our assessment and take over the investigation if this is appropriate.
In other cases we may decide to investigate the complaint with the agency if, for example, our coercive powers or other resources are required for a productive investigation.
Review of disciplinary decisions by QCAT
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent body which has the jurisdiction to hear disciplinary proceedings for official misconduct. These hearings are open to the public.
The Crime and Misconduct Act states that the purpose of such disciplinary proceedings is to:
- protect the public
- uphold ethical standards within public sector agencies and the police service
- promote and maintain public confidence in the public sector.
If we refer alleged official misconduct by a police officer to the QPS, and they decide not to initiate disciplinary proceedings, we can take the matter directly to QCAT to commence disciplinary proceedings. This is known as referring a matter in its ‘original jurisdiction’.
If the QPS does initiate proceedings but we are not satisfied with the outcome of their disciplinary hearing, we can ask QCAT to review this decision. This is known as referring a matter in the ‘review jurisdiction’.
If we refer a matter to QPS where the allegation relates to police misconduct and they initiate proceedings, we can seek a review in QCAT if we are not satisfied with the outcome of their disciplinary hearing.
However, if QPS decides not to initiate proceedings when we refer a complaint of police misconduct to them, under the current legislation, we have no power to request QCAT to review that decision.