Commissions are investigative bodies created by statute with the purpose of investigating matters or issues of public concern and making findings. In Australia, there are a number of different commissions which focus on investigating criminal activity and crime. Such commissions have been given significant statutory powers to enable them to investigate crime.
The different types of commissions are detailed below.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is a criminal intelligence agency that was established in 2016 with the merging of the Australian Crime Commission and CrimTrac. ACIC works with each of the states and territories as well as national and international partners in order to investigate crime, criminal groups and to gather criminal intelligence and other information to improve Australia’s crime responses. The ACIC deals with criminal syndicates, serious drug related offending, cybercrime and matters of national and international security.
Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was founded in 1988 following public concern about corruption and the integrity of the NSW public service. ICAC has three primary objectives:
- To investigate corrupt conduct in the New South Wales public sector.
- To prevent corruption through detection, advice and guidance.
- To educate the NSW public and the public sector about the impact of corruption.
ICAC’s jurisdiction does not enable investigation into the NSW Police Force or the NSW Crime Commission but rather NSW public officials such as government employees, ministers and office holders.
ICAC reports to the Inspector of ICAC and the Parliamentary Committee on ICAC. It also reports to the public about the work it undertakes through publication of its reports on its website.
NSW Crime Commission
The New South Wales Crime Commission was founded in 1996 and has extensive powers to investigate criminal activity in NSW and, if appropriate, refer matters for prosecution.
The commission investigates criminal activity and serious crime within NSW. It also administers the Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990 (NSW) under its two divisions; the Criminal Investigations Division and the Financial Investigations Division.
Criminal Investigations Division
The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) investigates homicide, terrorism and drug offences as well as financial and money laundering activity. Following investigations they share intelligence with partner agencies such as the NSW Police Force and the Commission’s Financial Investigations Division (FID).
Financial Investigations Division
The Financial Investigations Division (FID) deals with the Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990 (NSW) and has the authority to recover proceeds of crime through the NSW Supreme Court. The NSW Crime Commission has the authority to apply for restraining orders, which prevent a person disposing of property. The FID uses forensic accounting experts to analyse and disrupt criminal activity. It also works with the Criminal Investigations Division (FID).
Law Enforcement Conduct Commission
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), formerly known as the Police Integrity Commission was formed in 2017 to oversee the NSW Police Force and the NSW Crime Commission. It replaced the Police Integrity Commission and the Police Division of the Office of the Ombudsman. It deals with police misconduct and employee or Crime Commission officer misconduct. The LECC has the authority to start disciplinary proceedings following a finding that a public official or the commission has engaged in misconduct.
The LECC reports to the Inspector of the LECC and the Parliamentary Joint Committee.
A Royal Commission is the highest form of inquiry of public importance. Royal Commissions can be initiated by a state or the commonwealth. The purpose of a royal commission is to uphold the peace and order of the country. Previous Royal Commissions have investigated financial services, child abuse, drug offences, various industries (sugar, powellised timber, fruit, pearl-shelling) and many others.
Royal Commissions are held in accordance with the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth).
If you require any information about commissions or any other legal matter phone Armstrong Legal on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.