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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Access to Police information: top brass should sort this out

“The police force admits it has a problem complying with FOI legislation with response taking 6 months. It claims its problems are the volume of applications, not a culture of secrecy.

NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney says his agency get more than 7000 requests a year to process. Most are personal applications for files.

“I regard the NSW Police as the most FOIed public sector organisation in this state,” he says. He says a further 12 staff will join the FOI unit increasing staff numbers to 21. A further $1million has been set aside to cover the costs”
One year to prise open secret files - Kelvin Bissett, Daily Telegraph 29 July.
“Bureaucratic delays have left NSW Police officers suspended on full pay for up to two years, costing taxpayers millions. The Sunday Telegraph has been told more than 150 officers are now suspended for alleged misconduct……
However the Police Force has refused to confirm how many officers are on suspension – and how many are on full pay.
Assistant Commissioner John Carroll said through a spokeswoman the numbers were not to be made public.
No reason was given for the secrecy.
The spokeswoman told the Sunday Telegraph to seek details through Freedom of Information”
Scores of police left in limbo – Neil Mercer Sunday Telegraph 30 July.

Commissioner Moroney says there are thousands out there who want information about themselves and its causing a resource problem – perhaps the answer is speedy administrative access rather than FOI for those who seek this information. Assistant Commissioner Carroll says the only way to get information about the Force is to make an FOI application when proactive disclosure of this information would avoid the perception there is a culture of secrecy.

Time for a chat?

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