The Police Ombudsman is an independent statutory authority entirely separate from the police force, as are the staff of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has the power to:
- receive complaints about the conduct of police officers or employees of the police department [Police (Complaints and Disciplinary Proceedings) Act 1985 (SA) ss 3 and 16(1)(5)]
- in such manner as the Ombudsman thinks fit, carry out a preliminary inquiry in relation to a complaint [s 19(1a)]
- maintain a register of complaints lodged both with the Ombudsman and with the police [s 29]
- oversee the investigation of complaints [ ss 25-26]
- examine investigation reports [ s 32(1)]
- investigate certain complaints independently [s 23]
- on his or her own initiative raise a matter for investigation [s 22A]
- conciliate to resolve complaints where possible [s 22]
- determine that a minor complaint should be the subject of an informal inquiry only [ss 21A; 3(2)]
- make an assessment of the matter in the light of the investigation report [s 32(1)(a)]
- recommend disciplinary or other action [s 32(1)(b)].
The Ombudsman must report to Parliament on the handling of complaints against police.
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