Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I complain about?
- Who can I complain about?
- Who can complain to the Inspector?
- Can I make an anonymous complaint?
- What if I fear being victimised?
- How do I make a complaint?
- What information should I include in my complaint?
- What can I expect from the Inspector?
- How long will the Inspector take to deal with my complaint?
- What happens if the Inspector decides not to investigate?
- What happens in an investigation?
- What if I am unhappy with the Inspector’s decision?
What can I complain about?
You can complain about any conduct on the part of the PIC or its officers concerning abuse of power, improper conduct, misconduct, corruption or about any delay in the conduct of investigations and any unreasonable invasions of privacy. You can also complain about any conduct which amounts to maladministration. Maladministration is conduct which is contrary to law, or unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory or based wholly or partly on improper motives.
The Inspector does not have the power to review the decisions of the PIC to either investigate or not investigate complaints made to it. The Inspector will only examine to either investigate or not to investigate a complaint made to the PIC where it is alleged that the decision was made as a result of misconduct, impropriety or maladministration.
Who can I complain about?
The Inspector can only deal with complaints about the conduct of the Police Integrity Commission (the PIC) or its current or its past officers. The Inspector does not have power to deal with complaints against any other public authority or public officers who are employed in other agencies.
Who can complain to the Inspector?
Any person or agency can make a complaint to the Inspector. If you do not want to make the complaint yourself, ask someone else to make a complaint on your behalf. Your Member of Parliament can also complain on your behalf.
Can I make an anonymous complaint?
Yes, you can. Making an anonymous complaint means however that the Inspector will not be able to contact you to provide information about the progress of the complaint. In some instances it may be difficult to investigate certain aspects of a complaint. For example, where information needs to be verified with the complainant or further information is required from the complainant, in order to investigate further.
What if I fear being victimised?
If you are a public official the Inspector is required to take steps under the Protected Disclosures Act 1994 to protect you from any risk of reprisal. Such steps would be taken in consultation with you and with regards to what is reasonable and appropriate.
For further details see Protected Disclosures.
If you are a private citizen or are making a complaint on behalf of a private organisation the Inspector encourages you to contact the Office so that your concerns can be fully discussed and appropriate strategies developed.
How do I make a complaint?
You can complain to the Inspector by telephone, email, facsimile or letter. You can also use the online form that is provided on this web site. Please send the Inspector copies of all relevant documentation concerning your complaint. If you or a person you may be assisting to lodge a complaint requires an interpreter or translation services we can organise this.
If you are uncertain about whether you wish to make a complaint and just want to explore concerns you may have regarding the conduct of the PIC and/or any of its current or former officers you are welcome to ring the Office of the Inspector of the PIC. Any concern or issues you raise will be treated in confidence.
What information should I include in my complaint?
Include the following information:
- What happened? When did the events take place? When (time and date)? Who was involved?
- Were there any witnesses to these events? Have you included their details?
- What documents or other material do you have to support your complaint for example, video footage?
- Have you already taken any action about your complaint?
- What action or outcome would you like to see as a result of your complaint?
What can I expect from the Inspector?
The Inspector is committed to effectively carrying out his role and ensuring positive dealings with the NSW public. The Inspector will provide the following standard of service consistent with the values of the office:
- Courtesy and respect.
- Confidentiality to be maintained.
- Any promises or undertakings will be kept. For example, phone calls will be returned when promised, safe keeping of your documents.
- Promptness in all dealings.
- Keeping complainants informed where there is any delay in dealing with the complaint and the reasons for such delay.
A complainant is not a client or customer. The Inspector serves the public interest and is accountable to the Parliament of NSW through the Parliamentary Committee on the PIC for the proper discharge of his role and functions.
How long will the Inspector take to deal with my complaint?
The time taken to either assess or investigate a complaint will vary because each complaint is different in terms of issues raised and the amount of information that may be required to be examined. Some complaints can be dealt with quickly and others take longer to investigate. Undue delay will be avoided at all times.
What happens if the Inspector decides not to investigate?
If the Inspector decides that the allegations cannot be supported or for any other reason he can take no further action, he will write to you and advise you the reasons why. You can reply to the Inspector's letter if you feel that there are issues he has not addressed or there is other information which you wish to bring to his attention.
Depending on the issues that you raise the Inspector may provide you with a further response. If however, no new issues are raised, given the limit on public resources that can be reasonably spent on complaints which have been finalised and found not be substantiated, the Inspector may not correspond with a complainant any further.
What happens in an investigation?
During an investigation of a complaint the Inspector may take any or all of the following steps:
- Ask the PIC to produce documents and any other material relevant to a complaint.
- Interview witnesses.
- Request material from other relevant agencies.
- Consider tand apply relevant laws.
- Call in any expert assistannce as required, for example, technical expertise such as accounting skills which may be required to shed light on relevant issues..
After the investigation steps are completed the Inspector will form a view as to whether the allegations raised in the complaint against the PIC and any of its officers (current and former) have any merit.
The Inspector will then write a draft report about the investigation and set out his comments and any recommendations. if the report contains any comments or views that are critical of the PIC and any of its officers, the law requires that the Inspector gives the PIC and the affected officers an opportunity to examine and respond to such comments. This must be done prior to the Inspector finalising the report and releasing it to any other person or agency.
Once the Inspector has received any such responses the Inspector will finalise his report on the complaint.
The Inspector is authorised to publish his reports to the Parliament of NSW. He will do this where he considers it is in the public interest to do so. The Inspector may also release either whole or part of an investigation report to the PIC or to any other relevant person.
What if I am unhappy with the Inspector’s decision?
The Parliamentary Committee on the PIC is responsible for ensuring that the Inspctor carries out his role and functions properly. It does not, however, have power to review individual complaints which the Inspector has decided.
If you feel that the Inspector's conduct has been inappropriate and has involved impropriety of any kind you can complain to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. If you are a NSW public servant or public official, you can make a protected disclosure about any such conduct by the Inspector to the ICAC in accordance with procedures established by the ICAC for accepting disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994.
Please check ICAC's web page for details or contact ICAC's office to speak to someone about making a public interest disclosure.