Crime and Corruption Commission and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
We don't give advice about this area of law
The following content is for general purposes only. Legal Aid Queensland does not provide legal advice in this area. For more information, please contact a lawyer.
What is the Crime and Corruption Commission?
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has the following objectives:
- To investigate organised crime, paedophilia, terrorist activity and other serious crime referred for investigation.
- To work with public sector agencies, including the Queensland Police Service (QPS), to fight misconduct, including corruption.
- To investigate cases of potentially serious misconduct.
- To help recover the proceeds of crime for the people of Queensland.
- To provide the witness protection service for the state of Queensland.
- To conduct research on crime, policing and public policy matters.
Who exactly does the CCC investigate?
The CCC investigates police misconduct and corrupt conduct 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 corrupt conduct and police misconduct?
Corrupt conduct looks at the way a public official performed their job. A state organisation or a state official might be guilty of corrupt conduct if they were:
- dishonest or biased
- breached trust placed in them; or
- misused officially obtained information.
Corrupt conduct also includes behaviour by anyone who tries to corrupt a public officer.
To amount to corrupt conduct, 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 CCC 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 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.
The Queensland Police Service (QPS) deals with complaints about police in relation to customer service issues or breaches of discipline. You can make a complaint about serious police misconduct to either the QPS or the CCC. The QPS is legally obliged to notify the CCC of all complaints of serious misconduct. The CCC has extensive powers to investigate the most serious cases of misconduct and can monitor QPS's internal complaints process to make sure the complaint is dealt with properly. The CCC can take over the investigation, if necessary. See Complaints about police.
How do I make a complaint to the CCC?
To make a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission, you can:
- use the online complaint lodgement form
- use the Word or PDF version of the complaint lodgement form and submit the documents to the Crime and Corruption Commission by mail, fax or email, or
- make a complaint in person (you will need to make an appointment).
Can my complaint be anonymous?
Yes, but that might make it harder for the CCC to investigate your claims, and they won't be able to tell you the result of their investigation. Even if you do give the CCC 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 CCC do with my complaint?
The CCC 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 CCC 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 CCC will investigate it themselves. Even if the CCC sends the complaint to the agency involved to deal with, the CCC will keep an eye on what happens to make sure the complaint is dealt with properly.
Can I trust the CCC to do the right thing?
Several organisations keep a check on the CCC. These include:
- The Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC)
- 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 CCC will contact you for your side of the story. You should get legal advice before talking to the CCC.
What happens if the CCC finds there is misconduct?
The CCC 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. CCC cannot discipline anyone for misconduct either.
The CCC can recommend:
- that a public servant be prosecuted for a crime
- that the public official's employer discipline them
- that an organisation change its 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 CCC 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 CCC investigate and keep an eye on organised crime?
The CCC 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.
What if I am called as a witness by the CCC?
The CCC has the power to conduct ‘coercive hearings’. This means that if you are called to a CCC hearing as a witness, it is an offence to refuse to:
- answer questions
- produce documents or other materials when requested
- take an oath.
The penalty for this type of offence is mandatory imprisonment.
For the first offence, the length of imprisonment will be a term decided by the courts. For a second offence relating to a hearing dealing with the same subject matter, the length of imprisonment will be a minimum of 2 years and 6 months. For any subsequent offence relating to a hearing dealing with the same subject matter, the length of imprisonment will be a minimum of 5 years.
You do have a right to legal representation and an interpreter if you need one.
If you’ve been called as a witness by the CCC, you should get legal advice immediately.
You can apply for financial help from the Department of Justice and Attorney General for legal services in relation to attendance at a CCC crime investigation hearing. The application form is available on the Queensland Government website.
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.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
What is the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is a national statutory authority created to combat serious and organised crime. The ACIC provides intelligence, investigation and criminal database services.
The ACIC has wide powers to obtain information that cannot be accessed through traditional policing methods.
What if I am called as a witness by the ACIC?
The ACIC has the power to summon witnesses before an Examiner to give evidence or to provide documents or other materials to the Examiner as part of an investigation.
The ACIC has ‘coercive hearing’ powers. This means that if you are called to appear as a witness before an ACIC Examiner, it is an offence to refuse to:
- appear before the Examiner
- give evidence
- provide documents or other things to the Examiner, if requested.
The penalty for this type of offence is usually imprisonment.
If you are appearing before the ACIC as a witness, you should get legal advice.
You can apply to the Commonwealth Attorney-General for help with your legal costs. To apply for legal financial assistance, you can:
Do I need legal advice?
You may need legal advice if you
- are being investigated by the CCC
- are called as a witness before a sitting of the CCC
- are called as a witness before a sitting of the ACIC.
Get legal advice
Legal Aid Queensland cannot give legal advice to public officials being investigated by the CCC for misconduct.
If you are being investigated by the CCC for a complaint of misconduct, you should speak to a private solicitor who works in this area of law.
A community legal centre may be able to give legal advice if you have been called as a witness before the CCC or ACIC.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor who can provide advice and representation.
Who else can help?
These organisations may also be able to help with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.
Queensland Police Service Headquarters investigate complaints about police misconduct and breaches of discipline. Internal complaints process is monitored by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission collects and disseminates criminal intelligence and undertakes criminal investigations.
Crime and Corruption Commission investigates complaints about corrupt conduct and police misconduct, even where the original complaint has been made to Queensland Police. Monitors police internal complaints process and can take over investigations if necessary.
Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC) monitors and reviews the performance of the CCC.
Queensland Courts provide information on Supreme court, Court of Appeal, district court, magistrates court, Coroners court, Childrens court of Queensland, Land court.
Disclaimer: This content is for general purposes only and not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, please contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.
Last updated 13 April 2023
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