11 Oct 2012

Police watchdog wants more of its reports made public

6:01 am on 11 October 2012

The new head of the Independent Police Conduct Authority wants less of the watchdog's work kept secret.

Judge Sir David Carruthers has also floated the idea of the IPCA being given powers of prosecution.

Last year, the authority took about 2000 complaints but made only 17 of its reports public.

Sir David wants fewer reports kept private in the future, because he says the public is in the dark about the authority and its function.

"At the moment we privately report on a lot of cases, we do that to the Commissioner, make recommendations, we follow those up, trying to change practice and policy for the future. We need to expose a bit more of that I think."

Sir David says the move shouldn't make the police more defensive or protective.

He is also considering whether the watchdog should have the power to prosecute errant officers, like some of its foreign counterparts.

But he says the idea needs to be thought through carefully, because it would fundamentally change the nature of the IPCA's work.