Media Release – Operation Dukono
Operation Dukono, an investigation into allegations that NSW Police Force officers had conducted person and vehicle searches of visitors to the Mannus Correctional Centre between September 2016 and February 2018 without lawful basis.
PRESENTATION OF LECC REPORT – OPERATION DUKONO
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission furnished a report to Parliament today in Operation Dukono, an investigation into allegations that NSW Police Force officers had conducted person and vehicle searches of visitors to the Mannus Correctional Centre between September 2016 and February 2018 without lawful basis.
The investigation found that hundreds of persons visiting inmates at the Mannus Correctional Centre near Tumbarumba were approached by NSW Police Force officers in the carpark of the centre and advised it was a condition of entry that they be searched by police. This was in addition to the searches conducted by Corrections officers once the visitors were inside the Centre.
The police officers did not have a lawful basis to conduct the searches under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2012 or the Crimes (Administrations and Sentencing) Amendment Act 2016 (‘CASA Act’). The officers who conducted the searches were informed however in the Operational Orders supporting the searches that they did have power under the CASA Act.
The searches were all recorded on the police Computerised Operational Policing System database (COPS). Some of the entries on COPS recorded the reason for the search as ‘Suspected Possession of Illegal Drugs”. This was simply untrue and should never have been recorded by police as the suspicion of illegal drug possession was never formed.
The Commission does not support a finding of serious police misconduct on the part of any of the individual officers. The searches were cursory and were not resisted by the persons searched. However there was a failure of management and training that led to the searches occurring in the first place.
The Commission has recommended and the NSW Police Force has agreed that the NSW Police Force provide training to police officers on the limits of police powers to conduct searches in proactive policing operations.
The Operation Dukono report can be found on the Commission website.
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is an independent statutory body. The principal functions of the Commission are to detect, investigate and expose serious misconduct and serious maladministration within the NSW Police Force and the NSW Crime Commission.
The Commission is separate from and completely independent of the NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Commission. The Commission will treat all information confidentially and has powers to protect persons who provide information to it.