Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Murder prompts police complaints review

The South Australian Government will act on a key recommendation of a coronial inquiry into a young man's murder by reviewing the Police Complaints Authority.

The coroner found Adelaide police made 49 mistakes in failing to investigate the circumstances leading up to the shooting murder of Chris Wilson, 23.

A teenager is now in jail for the murder.

SA Premier Mike Rann has pledged to act immediately on a key recommendation.

"There has been a series of recommendations from the coroner in relation to reviewing the Police Complaints Authority and indeed the legislation relating to the Police Complaints Authority, and that review will take place and will take place in a hurry," he said.


MP's push to scrap Police Complaints Authority

A South Australian politician is drafting legislation to scrap the Police Complaints Authority following a coronial report released yesterday.

The report identified 49 mistakes by police which contributed to the murder of 23-year-old Chris Wilson.

Among them were criticisms police did not take Mr Wilson seriously when he reported being shot at two days earlier.

Independent MLC John Darley says the entire police complaints system needs overhauling.

"What we're looking at is having an independent body to look at these complaints," he said.

"The current police complaints system doesn't work and needs to be scrapped.

"It's really an issue about who guards the guards, it's not about doing things right, it's about doing the right things."

National benchmarks

Senator-elect Nick Xenophon supports the move and says he wants national benchmarks.

He says if the State Government does not act, the Commonwealth should have the power to oversee complaints.

"To ensure that there are minimum uniform standards of police accountability, of dealing with police complaints," he said.

Call for ICAC in SA

The South Australian Opposition has renewed its call for the Government to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Yesterday, the state coroner said the secrecy provisions in the Police Complaints Act are too restrictive.

The Liberal's police spokesman, David Ridgway, says the Police Complaints Authority should be disbanded and replaced with a more transparent system of investigation, through an independent commission.

"Well clearly the state coroner says that the existing system we have and the legislation is deficient," he said.

"It certainly just doesn't wash that the cost is, you know, at what price for transparency and appropriate scrutiny of all government agencies?"

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