Tuesday, July 9, 1996


In addition, committee staff visited New York and met the authors of the Mollen
report, of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and
the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the New York City Police Department, and had a
close look at the structures in place for regulation of the New York City Police

Having looked at all of those jurisdictions and all of the available models, the
committee proposed the model contained within its report - a police
anticorruption commission.

Much of the debate this evening has centred on the Wood royal commission and its
comments about the Independent Commission against Corruption in New South Wales.
Paragraph 5.20 on page 91 of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into the
New South Wales Police Service states -

Careful consideration has been given to the option of establishing a
dedicated Police Corruption Unit or Division within the ICAC, as was
canvassed in a number of submissions. It is not favoured for several
reasons . . .

The submissions recommending a dedicated police corruption unit or division
within ICAC, rejected by the Wood royal commission, are instructive. Those
submissions were made by the Police Officers Association; the New South Wales
Council for Civil Liberties; the New South Wales Ombudsman; the New South Wales
Police Service; and the Police Board of New South Wales. The New South Wales
Police Service or its agencies were plugging for a unit within the Independent
Commission Against Corruption, but the Wood royal commission rejected that. On
pages 91 and 92 of its interim report, it explains why it came to the conclusion
that that model was inappropriate for New South Wales. The assessment of the
Wood royal commission is instructive when it talks about the appropriateness of
a specialised police investigative unit within ICAC and its determination
against that model. The first assessment of ICAC, in paragraph 3.118 on page 68
of the interim report states -

The ICAC has greater powers than those of this Royal Commission, for
example, telephone interception powers. However, when ICAC has tackled
police corruption the results have been limited. The Milloo investigation

This is the one involving Roger Rogerson and Neddy Smith -

- was its most significant investigation in this area, yet in retrospect
it seems to have been an opportunity lost, which resulted in limited
convictions and the enforced departure of few corrupt officers from the
Service. At the conclusion of that inquiry Mr Temby QC, then
Commissioner, publicly stated that maybe it was time to leave the Police
Service alone for a while to `prove its capacity to achieve its own
reforms which are likely to be the most lasting and beneficial'.

It may be that, as a result, there was a degree of relaxation, both by the
Police Service and the ICAC, in relation to corruption within the Service.
If so, that was an unfortunate outcome of Milloo.

If the relationship between Roger Rogerson and Neddy Smith and all of the
attendant corruption within the New South Wales Police Service that flowed from
that relationship had been vigorously investigated, the shocking revelations of
the Wood royal commission would have been brought out earlier. The Independent
Commission Against Corruption had those powers, but it chose not to pursue the
investigations vigorously. It said, "Leave the Police Service alone for a
while, to prove its capacity to achieve its own reforms." At paragraph 3.119 of
its interim report, the Wood royal commission states -

The ICAC has had the opportunity to be aggressively proactive in the light
of the material supplied by the NCA, NSWCC and the Ombudsman concerning
corruption. However, investigative techniques of the kind adopted by this
Commission appear not to have been favoured, and corruption has continued,
of a kind and to an extent which appears to be significant.

There is no doubting the powers of the New South Wales Independent Commission
Against Corruption. In the estimation of Commissioner Wood, ICAC had greater
powers than did his royal commission. However, it chose not to pursue the
corruption that was revealed in the Roger Rogerson-Neddy Smith investigation.

One must accept that the Wood royal commission was not favourably disposed to
the ICAC model. However, that was not because of the model.

The interim report of the Select Committee on the Western Australian Police
Service of October 1995 gives a quite different estimation of the same model
operating in a different jurisdiction - the Hong Kong Independent Commission
Against Corruption - and with a quite different commitment and outcomes.
Therefore, it is a question not of the model being inappropriate, but of the
willingness of the officers involved, and the Government which provides the
resources for that independent commission, to pursue allegations of corruption.
That is not merely within the Police Service, because both ICAC New South Wales
and ICAC Hong Kong have a responsibility to pursue corruption across the whole
of the public sector, but Wood found that most of the work of those two bodies,
if they chose to pursue it, would relate to police corruption. In ICAC Hong
Kong, there was a vigorous pursuit of police corruption; in ICAC New South
Wales, there was not. It was a question of choice. It was not a question of
power, of authority, or of the organisational model of the investigative

When the Wood royal commission addressed the question of whether there should be
a dedicated police corruption unit or division within ICAC, as was proposed
largely by the submissions of agencies or bodies associated with the New South
Wales Police Service, or a new purpose built agency, it rejected the proposal
for a dedicated unit or division within ICAC. Its reasons are pertinent to ICAC
New South Wales but are not pertinent to that model which has been applied in
New South Wales. Its reasons are that there is a public perception that ICAC
has failed to tackle police corruption or to use its coercive and other powers
with sufficient determination and initiative, necessitating the establishment of
the royal commission.