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A period of change

Since 2007, the Authority has undergone significant transformation.

Prior to 2007, the Authority was principally dedicated to reviewing Police investigations. Since that time, the Authority has been transforming itself by focusing resources on active, independent and transparent investigation of the most serious complaints and incidents.

That transformation has involved legislative, structural and operational change.

Independent Police Conduct Authority Amendment Act 2007

The Independent Police Conduct Authority Amendment Act came into effect in November 2007.

It replaced the Police Complaints Authority with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, the new name better reflecting the Authority’s independence and full range of functions. In addition:

  • The Authority was changed from a single person to a Board of up to five people.
  • The Authority was given power to refer complaints to Police for investigation, and to take no action on minor complaints for which there is another remedy. This allows for less serious complaints to be referred to Police for early intervention and resolution, with the aim of ensuring resources are used effectively and complaints are dealt with in the most timely and satisfactory manner.
  • The Authority was given the same powers as Commissions of Inquiry in relation to conduct of inquiries (including powers to receive evidence, examine documents, and summon witnesses).

The amendment also imposed a statutory deadline on Police for referral of complaints to the Authority, clarified that the Authority can hear complaints about historic incidents dating back to before its establishment in 1989, and required the Authority to inform the Minister of Police and the Attorney General if Police do not respond satisfactorily to Authority recommendations.

Operational change

In line with the November 2007 legislative changes, the Authority has shifted the focus of its work towards independent and active investigation.

Whereas in past years, resourcing constraints meant that investigative staff were largely confined to active monitoring and/or review of Police investigations, the Authority now routinely conducts its own investigations including scene examinations and interviews of witnesses. For some incidents, the Authority is the sole investigating body.





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