Role of the Office of the Police Ombudsman

The function of the Office of the Police Ombudsman is to provide independent oversight of SAPOL and its members. The Office of the Police Ombudsman is not part of SAPOL and none of its staff are police officers. The Office of the Police Ombudsman and its processes are governed by the Police (Complaints and Disciplinary Proceedings) Act 1985 (SA) (‘the Act’).

The Office of the Police Ombudsman has 4 key functions:

Complaint Handling

The primary role of the Office of the Police Ombudsman is to receive and take action in relation to complaints about the conduct of SAPOL members, in accordance with the Act. The complaints system provides processes for the Office of  the Police Ombudsman to receive, assess, investigate, and resolve complaints about police in a timely and appropriate way. This ensures that the Office of the Police Ombudsman assists SAPOL to uphold to the highest levels of conduct and integrity, achieve proper accountability to the community, and to engender public confidence. Anyone can lodge a complaint to the Office of the Police Ombudsman.

Freedom of Information

The Office of the Police Ombudsman is responsible for reviewing determinations made by SAPOL in relation to the release of information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA).

Compliance Auditing

The Office of the Police Ombudsman is required to audit SAPOL’s record keeping and compliance with legislation concerning listening and surveillance devices, forensic procedures and telecommunications interceptions.

Prevention and Education

This function includes the delivery of seminars on policing practices and integrity to SAPOL members. In carrying out these purposes, the Office of the Police Ombudsman provides independent assurance that questions of misconduct and breaches of discipline are properly dealt with. Accordingly, the Office of the Police Ombudsman exists to encourage discipline within the police, protects against corruption, and enhances public trust in the criminal justice system.