Complaint Handling and Managing Employees
Complaint Handling and
Paul Carey APM
NSW Police Force
National Investigations Symposium 2012
• Nearly 40 years with NSWPF
• Assistant Commissioner – Professional
• Police Commander since 1995
• Counter Terrorism Commander
• Deputy Commissioner
• Worked, visited and spoken Nationally and
NSW Police Force
• 150 years old
• State organisation providing all facets of
modern policing services
• 16,000+ sworn police officers
• 3,500 unsworn officers
• In 500 locations across the State
• Operating 24 x 7
NSW Police Force - Complaints
• Defined by Part 8A of the Police Act 1990
• Current approach comes from the Wood
Royal Commission recommendations
• Annually 5,000 – 5,500
• 65% complaints from the public
• 35% generated internally
• Operational issues attract attention
• Eg Use of Tasers, Pursuits, Major
operations, Major arrests, Major incidents,
• The ‘business’ attracts complaints.
• Wicked questions
• People are employed to do certain things.
• We check, write policy, flag failures, call to
• Implement good governance.
• Provide for improvement.
• There is a culture at work.
• Do we explain what we do, how we do it,
why we do it (or don’t do it) in detail.
• Is it transparent?
• What are the facts?
• What is the evidence?
• Has it been reviewed?
• If there are a thousand tasks, processes,
strategies actions a investigator can take to
investigate a homicide (justifiable or
The results of those tasks undertaken are clear
The ones that aren’t undertaken are less clear.
This creates a void for those who review or have
How does NSWPF manage?
• Oversight by NSW Ombudsman and the
Police Integrity Commission.
• Majority (80+%) managed locally.
• Complaints system managed centrally.
• Large central Command PSC – 240 staff.
• Supported by decentralised specialist staff
and ‘portfolio’ holders.
How do we do it
• Complaints are assessed or triaged.
• They can be declined, resolved or formally
investigated including criminal
• Proper assessment, early contact, identify
issues and resolution streams.
• NSWPF found interesting things.
• We were in fact being unfair to our own officers.
• We were imposing sanctions on poorly informed
We didn’t engage with the officer very much,
It could’ve been interpreted that the process
was being used as punishment.
• Woods said…Remedial rather than
punitive, however those that grossly
offend against proper standards should
expect nothing less than an early exit…
• We should work with people
• We should agree on a way to improve
• Information is important
• Communication is more important
• Initial training, ongoing training
• Monitor progress
• Quality decisions
• Engage early – College, reinforce
• Bi annual conferences
• ‘Help’ available, helps everyone.
Ethics and Standards
• Socrates .. “What ought one to do…”
• Standards set from the top
• Oath of Office
• Statement of Values
• Code of Conduct
• Professional Standards
• Expect the unexpected from those you least