The Government is being pressed to change the law so anything said by police officers in a voluntary interview with the Corruption and Crime Commission cannot be used against them later in criminal proceedings.
The recommendation by the CCC’s parliamentary oversight committee today was designed to end what it called a “Mexican standoff” resulting in police giving no voluntary interviews to the CCC for a year on the advice of their union.
The WA Police Union had accused the CCC of bullying its members during voluntary interviews, a claim described as baseless by committee chairman Nick Goiran in December.
In its report, the committee found the directive from the union had resulted in a big drop in co-operation by police officers with investigations by the CCC, which has the job of overseeing WA Police.
In 2012-13 the CCC undertook about 30 investigations involving about 80 voluntary interviews with police.
In September 2013 the CCC had 13 investigations underway into 34 officers but all eight who had been asked to submit to interview refused in line with the directive.
While the committee found no evidence to support the union’s claim of bullying, it recommended legislative change to break the deadlock.
“To provide certainty to WA Police officers, the CCC Act should be amended to ensure that anything provided by police in a voluntary interview with the CCC cannot be used in a later criminal prosecution,” it recommended.
The recommendation has the support of WAPU president George Tilbury, who said the union was seeking further legal advice on the report.