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Responsibilities and Powers

Investigation options

The Integrity Commissioner decides independently how to deal with each corruption issue. The Integrity Commissioner is not expected to investigate every corruption issue that arises in Commonwealth law enforcement. Rather, the Integrity Commissioner's role is to ensure that indications and risks of corruption in law enforcement agencies are identified and addressed effectively.

The Integrity Commissioner can choose from a range of options in dealing with a corruption issue. The options are to:

  • investigate the corruption issue independently
  • investigate the corruption issue jointly with another agency
  • refer the corruption issue to the law enforcement agency for internal investigation (with or without management or oversight by ACLEI)
  • refer the corruption issue to another agency—such as a State integrity agency, the AFP, or another Government agency—for investigation, or
  • take no further action.

The Integrity Commissioner will generally only investigate when there is advantage in ACLEI's direct involvement—for example, if an independent investigation would be beneficial, or if the use of ACLEI's coercive investigation powers would be desirable.

Investigative powers

A challenge facing ACLEI is that those law enforcement officers subject to investigation by the Integrity Commissioner are likely to be well-versed in law enforcement methods, and may be skilled at countering them in order to avoid scrutiny. As a consequence, ACLEI has access to a range of special law enforcement powers and methods in order to investigate corrupt conduct.

The corruption investigation methods available to the Integrity Commissioner include:

  • coercive information-gathering hearings and notices
  • telecommunications interception and data access
  • electronic surveillance
  • controlled operations and assumed identities
  • search warrants
  • scrutiny of financial transaction records, and
  • integrity testing.

In addition, the Integrity Commissioner may issue orders to prevent disclosures being made by witnesses about the nature and existence of ACLEI hearings. This measure is designed to prevent collusion between witnesses and other forms of compromise that may arise, were the fact of an ACLEI investigation to become known. Non-disclosure directions are also one means by which ACLEI may protect whistleblowers and other witnesses.

Safeguards for use of powers

A number of safeguards are in place to ensure that investigation powers are used lawfully, fairly and appropriately. Some safeguards take the form of external checks, while others are administered by the Integrity Commissioner as ACLEI's head of agency—see Accountability for use of powers

To raise a concern about your dealings with ACLEI, see Maintaining ACLEI’s integrity