‘Independence’ means that the Authority makes its findings based on the facts and the law. It does not answer to the Police or anyone else over those findings. In this way, its independence is similar to that of a Court.
There are three aspects to the Authority’s independence.
The law requires the Authority to act independently in performing its statutory functions and duties such as investigating complaints and incidents involving death or serious injury.
The Authority’s status as an independent Crown entity means that there is no political involvement in its operations.
The Authority is chaired by a serving High Court Judge, and its decisions and actions reflect that judicial independence.
Its investigators independently investigate the most serious complaints and incidents, such as those involving fatalities or allegations of serious misconduct. Investigators also have the power to direct or oversee Police investigations. The integrity of investigators’ work is assured through peer review and through oversight from the Manager: Investigations and the Authority Chair.
Most complaints to the Authority are referred to the Police for investigation and resolution. The Authority independently oversees Police handling of these complaints. The form of that oversight depends on the nature of the complaint, but can include independent review or audit of the Police investigation.
The Authority maintains a register of conflicts of interest and has systems in place to manage conflicts when they arise.
The Authority reports publicly on investigations of significant public interest.