We have detected that you are running an unsupported version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Please upgrade to version 9 or above for the best experience of this website

Release of report on LECC Operation Chivero and Rozzano

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has concluded two investigations into the conduct of New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) Highway Patrol (HWP) officers, Operations Chivero and Rozzano. In addition to issues arising from the conduct of the officers involved in both investigations, the Commission has also identified wider issues arising from the manner in which allegations of misconduct within the HWP Command are investigated.

Media Statement

26.06.2019

PRESENTATION OF PUBLIC REPORTS IN OPERATIONS CHIVERO AND ROZZANO  

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has concluded two investigations into the conduct of New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) Highway Patrol (HWP) officers, Operations Chivero and Rozzano. In addition to issues arising from the conduct of the officers involved in both investigations, the Commission has also identified wider issues  arising from the manner in which allegations of misconduct within the HWP Command are investigated.

In particular, the Commission noted that, where a complaint is made against an officer of the HWP, it is investigated by another officer within the same Command. Given the size and structure of the HWP Command, it is likely, if not probable, that an investigating officer will have had a past, or even an ongoing, working relationship with the officer the subject of the investigation. The Commission was concerned such an arrangement could lead to an actual or perceived bias in favour of the subject officer.

The Commission has suggested that the NSWPF should consider a number of matters regarding the HWP, including an increase in the number of Professional Standards Managers within the HWP Command and having a senior officer (Superintendent) as chair of Complaint Management Teams to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest and add a layer of further professional experience.

Operation Chivero

Operation Chivero arose from an incident on 2 November 2016, when a motorist was stopped by Officer A and Officer C, both of the local Traffic and Highway Patrol, for driving an unregistered motor vehicle.  The motorist became upset during the exchange with the police officers and swore a number of times. Officer A took issue with her swearing and arrested the motorist.  Whilst being handcuffed by Officer A, the motorist’s head made contact with the body of the motor vehicle.  The arrest was captured on the police vehicle in-car video (ICV).  The motorist was taken to the police station, charged and then released.  The motorists complained that she had been assaulted by Officer A in the course of her arrest.

An internal investigation was conducted by Officer B of the local Highway Patrol. In his Resolution Outcome Report of 19 May 2017, Officer B found the complaints of unreasonable use of force and unnecessary use of arrest powers to be Not Sustained.

On 6 October 2017 the Commission decided to investigate both the complaint made by the motorist regarding the conduct of Officer A and the conduct of the NSW Police Force investigation of the complaint. The Commission conducted a number of private hearings as part of its investigation.

The Commission found that Officer A had engaged in serious misconduct and used excessive force against the motorist.

The Commission found that Officer B engaged in serious misconduct in that he conducted his investigation with such reckless indifference as to the outcome that a Not Sustained finding was inevitable.

 

The Commission recommends that consideration be given to the taking of action against Officer A and Officer B pursuant to section 173 of the Police Act 1990.

 

The Commission’s Operation Chivero report can be found on the website. The ICV footage obtained during this investigation by the Commission should be viewed prior to reading the Report and is available on the website.

 

Operation Rozzano

Operation Rozzano arose out of a traffic incident on 23 January 2015.  Following the incident, a solicitor made a number of allegations on behalf of the driver (Civilian 1):

  • It was alleged that, after pursuing a car from NSW into the ACT, Officer A approached the recently stopped vehicle being driven by Civilian 1 and drew his service pistol. He then proceeded to tap on the driver’s side window with that pistol.
  • Upon Civilian 1 obeying his direction to get out of the vehicle, Officer A holstered his pistol and directed Civilian 1 to lay face down, which he did. Whilst applying handcuffs to Civilian 1, Officer A kneed him in the back and punched him in the neck.

The solicitor referred in his complaint to extracts from the police proceedings against Civilian 1 before an ACT Magistrate, who raised concerns about Officer A’s conduct during the incident.

The allegations against Officer A potentially involved him having committed a number of criminal acts in the ACT. The NSWPF referred the complaint to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for investigation to ascertain whether Officer A had committed a criminal offence(s). The AFP sought independent legal advice from the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The DPP concluded that although there was a prima facie case for criminal charges, there were no reasonable prospects of conviction. The AFP conducted its own review of the matter and arrived at a similar conclusion i.e. that Officer A should not be charged with a criminal offence.

The NSWPF then conducted an evidence based non – criminal investigation. The investigation was conducted by Officer C of the Highway Patrol. The outcomes of Officer C’s investigation included a number of Not Sustained findings and a recommendation of counselling for Officer A. Further information regarding Officer C’s investigation can be found in the Commission’s report.

On 8 March 2018, the Commission decided to commence an investigation. The scope and purpose of the examination was:

To investigate the conduct of the New South Wales Police Force investigation into the complaint made by [Civilian 1] regarding the conduct of Officer A of the New South Wales Police Force [local] Highway Patrol at [Location A] on 22 January 2015.

The Commission conducted private hearings and heard evidence from Officer B.  Officer B’s evidence was chiefly concerned with the investigative processes of the HWP.

The Commission found that the NSWPF ensured that there was an appropriate examination of the likely prospects of success in pursuing criminal charges against Officer A. However, the Not Sustained findings made by Officer C concerning Officer A in the internal police investigation were not reasonably available in light of the evidence in the ICV. The Commission recommends that the investigation outcome into Officer A’s conduct be set aside and that a further investigation be conducted by NSWPF.

The Commission’s Operation Rozzano report can be found on the website. The ICV footage obtained during this investigation by the Commission should be viewed prior to reading the Report and is available on the website.

 

Background

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 has directed that there be no publication of the names of the other officers or the location of the Local Area Command. 

 

LECC media contact: Louisa Dear

Email: louisa.dear@lecc.nsw.gov.au

Phone: 0425 317 535

www.lecc.nsw.gov.au