Urgent amendment to Policing Act

  • Anne Tolley

Police Minister Anne Tolley says that an amendment to the Policing Act 2008 has been introduced into Parliament under urgency.

The Policing (Constable’s Oaths Validation) Amendment Bill makes a technical change to the Act, which removes any doubt over the validity of the actions of a small number of former constables who have rejoined the Police.

63 officers who returned to Police between October 2009 and July 2013 were sworn in by District Commanders or Inspectors. This would have fulfilled the requirement under the Police Act 1958, however the Policing Act 2008 included a new procedure which states that the oath can only be administered by the Commissioner or a person specifically authorised by the Commissioner.

All 63 officers were properly sworn in once this administrative error was identified.

“Police received advice from Crown Law that a legislative fix was also required,” says Mrs Tolley.

“To avoid any attempt by defendants to exploit this issue, the Bill will retrospectively authorise the oath given to the officers when they first rejoined the Police, as if it was administered by an authorised person.

“It’s disappointing that we are having to take this action, and I’ve expressed my concerns to the Commissioner.

“I’ve been assured that this will not happen again, and that Police now have the necessary safeguards in place.”