A fair and robust performance management and discipline system is essential for ensuring the ongoing integrity of the Queensland Police Service, and for ensuring public confidence in the work of police. Reform of the discipline system has been a focus of the CCC for the past few years.
In October 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a new police discipline system was signed by the CCC, the QPS, the Queensland Police Union and the Queensland Police Commissioned Officers Union of Employees, as well as by representatives of the Queensland Government and the State Opposition.
The MOU, along with other reforms pursued over the last few years, strengthens the police disciplinary system by having a system that is timely, consistent and fair but remains subject to oversight by the CCC.
The key features of the new discipline framework include improved timeliness and consistency for disciplinary matters for QPS officers and complainants, and a remedial focus for disciplinary matters, with an emphasis on identifying and correcting inappropriate conduct early. The system aims to ensure that disciplinary investigations will be shorter and more targeted.
Key processes involved in the new system include:
- the Joint Assessment of complaints and Moderation Committee (JAMC)
- the Investigative Consultation Process (ICP)
- the Abbreviated Discipline Process (ADP).
Joint Assessment of complaints and Moderation Committee
The Joint Assessment and Moderation Committee (JAMC) reviews how serious complaints are triaged and monitored, and aims to improve the timeliness and consistency in approach when the QPS investigates complaints against its own officers. The Committee includes representatives from the CCC and the QPS Ethical Standards Command (ESC).
The JAMC evaluates how each complaint is initially assessed and then agrees to a plan of action. This process gives both the CCC and the QPS an assurance that complaints are being appropriately assessed and clearly establishes the responsibilities of each agency.
- Assesses allegations against QPS employees in order to identify the appropriate process for dealing with each matter
- Draws on CCC allegations data and research to evaluate levels of risk. The analysis of allegations data assists the JAMC to assess whether an officer’s complaints history is significant compared to that of their peers.
The CCC continues to conduct research to better understand the importance of an officer’s allegations history in assessing matters at the JAMC.
Investigative Consultation Process (ICP)
The Investigative Consultation Process (ICP) is the second tier of the JAMC process.
As part of the ICP, the progress of matters and the CCC’s expectations regarding investigations and/or criminal, disciplinary and managerial processes are tabled. In addition, the QPS can raise issues that are contentious or that impact on their resources so that an effective resolution may be achieved.
The ICP does not meet on every matter, only meeting when there is a stakeholder necessity or public interest in gaining a joint commitment to processes that will meet stakeholder expectations.
The Abbreviated Discipline Process (ADP)
Under the Abbreviated Discipline Process (ADP) the ESC will first consult with the CCC about the proposed disciplinary sanction or management action to be offered to a subject officer. It is anticipated that this will significantly reduce the need for the review of outcomes by the CCC, and will ensure uniformity of sanctions offered under an ADP.
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