Review into the AFP’s Response to and Management of Sensitive Investigations Released

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw APM has today released the Review into the AFP’s Response to and Management of Sensitive Investigations by Mr John Lawler AM APM.

The objective of the Review included reporting on all aspects of the conduct of sensitive investigations, providing options to ensure they are as efficient and effective as possible, and determining whether existing policy and guidelines were fit for purpose. Commencing on 14 October 2019, the Review examined more than 200 relevant documents, conducted 55 meetings with over 100 internal and external stakeholders and engaged seven of the AFP’s international law enforcement partners.

On 17 January 2020 the Commissioner was provided the Review report containing 24 options across the Terms of Reference. At the centre of the Review’s findings are a definition of ‘sensitive investigation’ and a key structural and governance change creating an escalation model for the AFP to better manage sensitive investigations.

The Review observed the AFP had already recognised some shortcomings in investigational governance and structural arrangements and had taken interim measures to improve its processes.

The Commissioner accepts all of the Review’s options in principle.

“I welcome the report and thank Mr Lawler for his attention to detail, breadth of research, and analysis. In implementing the options, the AFP will continue to enhance its response to and management of sensitive investigations,” said Commissioner Kershaw.

“Implementing the options will provide a consistent approach, ensuring that sensitive investigations are quickly identified, have regular senior executive oversight and are handled in line with the public interest.”

“I have asked the AFP’s Audit Committee to conduct regular monitoring to ensure full implementation of the options adopted from this report.”

“I continue to have the utmost confidence in the AFP’s investigators and staff who conduct a range of complex matters in challenging environments and who do so to a very high standard.”

The Review is available at Lawler Review (PDF, 9MB).

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