What is the Crime and Misconduct Commission?
The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has three major roles:
Investigating major crime
The CMC investigates and keeps an eye on organised crime, including pedophiles and drug trafficking. It also plays a part in confiscating profits of crime.
Stopping major crime and misconduct by public servants and state organisations
The CMC investigates and keeps an eye on misconduct (bad or dishonest behaviour) by Queensland public servants and state run organisations. By doing this it tries to raise the standard of behaviour of public officials.
The CMC cannot investigate private organisations. It is a watchdog for state business.
Running the Queensland witness protection program
Because the CMC takes the safety of witnesses very seriously, there is not a lot of information available about how this programs works.
Who exactly does the CMC investigate?
The CMC investigates police misconduct and official misconduct in:
- state government departments, statutory bodies and agencies
- organisations which are funded by the state
- state run prisons and private prisons operating in Queensland
- state run schools and universities
- elected officials, including state government politicians and local government councillors
- Queensland Police Service (QPS).
What is the difference between official misconduct and police misconduct?
Official misconduct looks at the way a public official performed their job. A state organisation or a state official might be guilty of official misconduct if they were:
- dishonest or biased
- breached trust placed in them; or
- misused officially obtained information.
Official misconduct also includes behaviour by anyone who tries to corrupt a public officer.
To amount to official misconduct, the conduct must also be a criminal offence or serious enough to sack the official. It does not include a public servant who was rude or inefficient.
The CMC cannot investigate politicians unless the matter could possibly be a criminal offence. This is because a politician can only be sacked by the people at an election, unless they are convicted of a crime.
Police misconduct is any behaviour (apart from official misconduct) that is disgraceful, improper or inappropriate by a police officer, or shows they are not fit to be a police officer. Basically, police misconduct has to be below the standard of conduct the community reasonably expects of a police officer. Since 2002, the Crime and Misconduct Commission doesn't handle complaints about police misconduct. The Queensland Police Service (QPS) now deals with police misconduct, but the Police Commission has to let the CMC know that a complaint was made. The CMC does however keep an eye on the QPS internal complaints process to make sure the complaint is dealt with properly.
How do I make a complaint to the CMC?
- By letter, e-mail, the CMC form; or
- By phone; or
- Via the CMC web site; or
- In person (you need to make an appointment).
The CMC has two application forms to make a complaint. They prefer to get the 'full form' because it gives them more information to go on.
The 'shortened form' will do, but the CMC will need to get back to you for more information.
Can my complaint be anonymous?
Yes, but that might make it harder for the CMC to investigate your claims, and they won't be able to tell you the result of their investigation. Even if you do give the CMC your name, it is not likely that your name would be made public.
Will I be told what happened with my complaint?
Yes, unless you made it anonymously.
What will the CMC do with my complaint?
The CMC assesses every complaint, but if the issue is not something to do with major crime or misconduct, they might refer your complaint to another organisation that can help.
If it is a matter they can deal with, the CMC will then decide whether to get a state organisation which is involved (eg the organisation which employs the public servant who is accused of misconduct) to take action, or the CMC will investigate it themselves. Even if the CMC sends the complaint to the agency involved to deal with, the CMC will keep an eye on what happens to make sure the complaint is dealt with properly.
Can I trust the CMC to do the right thing?
Several organisations keep a check on the CMC. These include:
- The Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC)
- The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner
- The Supreme Court
- The Public Interest Monitor
- The media.
What if I am the one being complained about?
The CMC will contact you for your side of the story. You should get legal advice before talking to the CMC.
What happens if the CMC finds there is misconduct?
The CMC only investigates and makes recommendations about what should happen to the organisation or public official. It cannot find a state organisation or a public servant guilty of a crime. Only a court does that. CMC cannot discipline anyone for misconduct either.
The CMC can recommend:
- that a public servant be prosecuted for a crime
- that the public official's employer discipline them
- that an organisation change it's processes
If my complaint is not proved, what happens?
If your complaint was investigated but there wasn't enough evidence to prove misconduct, nothing will happen.
If your complaint was investigated and found to be trivial or malicious, nothing will be done to the official you complained about. Anyone who knowingly makes a false complaint to the Crime and Misconduct Commission or the Queensland Police Service may be prosecuted. False complaints are treated seriously because they waste public money and unfairly damage reputations.
How does the CMC investigate and keep an eye on organised crime?
The CMC also helps to prevent major crime and misconduct by:
- analysing the results of investigations
- analysing the systems used in public organisations
- reporting on ways to prevent major crime and misconduct
- making recommendations based on the findings to the public sector.
Who qualifies for witness protection?
Anyone who helped a law enforcement agency and is in danger because of doing that. Witness protection is not just limited to witnesses for court cases.