Release of report on LECC Operation Errigal
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has found that Superintendent Michael Rowan of the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) engaged in serious misconduct
PRESENTATION OF PUBLIC REPORT IN OPERATION ERRIGAL
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has found that Superintendent Michael Rowan of the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) engaged in serious misconduct when:
- He lied to the Commission during his evidence.
- He failed to declare conflicts of interest in accordance with NSWPF policy.
- He improperly influenced an officer’s recording of a domestic violence incident in the police database.
- He acted contrary to a superior officer’s direction.
- He inappropriately became involved in the investigation of another officer’s conduct.
- His conduct brought the NSWPF into disrepute.
The LECC also found that a female officer engaged in serious misconduct when:
- She lied to the Commission during her evidence
- She knowingly disregarded a superior officer’s direction
Operation Errigal was an investigation that arose from a complaint about the conduct of Superintendent Michael Rowan (Rowan), who was Commander of a Local Area Command (LAC) from April 2008 until his suspension in September 2018. The complaint centred around Rowan’s alleged personal relationships with staff from the LAC, in particular with Officer E, Officer A, Officer B, and the impact those alleged relationships had on Rowan’s decision-making as a Commander.*
Complaints about Rowan’s conduct had been investigated previously by the NSWPF. Those investigations and outcomes are summarised below.
- There was an investigation into an allegation that in October 2010, Officer E was given the benefit of police housing because of her personal relationship with Rowan. Rowan’s response was that at the time of allocating the house to Officer E he was not in a relationship with Officer E. This complaint was not sustained by NSWPF.
- There was an investigation into an allegation that Officer B was given a temporary appointment pursuant to s67 of the Police Act 1990 prior to her promotion to the rank of Sergeant because of an alleged intimate relationship with Rowan. This complaint was not sustained by NSWPF.
- There had been an investigation into an allegation that Officer F had sexually harassed Officer B. In his show cause response Officer F alleged that Rowan was in an intimate relationship with Officer E and Officer B. Officer F had been retired as medically unfit for duty. These allegations were not investigated by NSWPF.
On 13 September 2018, the LECC determined to take over the investigation of outstanding complaints against Rowan. The Commission held a number of private hearings in December 2018.
The LECC found that both Rowan and Officer A engaged in serious misconduct on a number of occasions, which are set out in the Operation Errigal report.
The LECC recommends that consideration be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Rowan for:
- without reasonable excuse, wilfully obstruct, hinder, resist or threaten the Commission in the exercise of its functions (LECC Act s148 (a)(i)); and
- knowingly give evidence that is false or misleading in a material particular (LECC Act s 151).
The Commission recommends that consideration be given to the taking of action against Rowan under s181D of the Police Act 1990.
The Commission recommends that consideration be given to the taking of action against Officer A under s181D of the Police Act 1990.
The Operation Errigal report can be found on the LECC 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 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
Phone: 0425 317 535