Criminal charges recommended against police

The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has released its report into the 2008 incident where Kevin Spratt was tasered multiple times in the Perth Watch House.

The report recommends the Director of Public Prosecutions lay criminal charges against two senior police officers involved, Troy Tomlin and Aaron Strahan.  Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said the officers would remain at work, and a decision to stand them down will be made if they are charged.

It also raised concerns whether sufficient consideration was given to the use of negotiation and conflict resolution techniques.

Mr O’Callaghan previously released a timeline to the media showing Mr Spratt’s criminal history.  The timeline contained inaccuracies indicating Mr Spratt had been violent prior to the tasering.  The CCC determined that releasing this information to the media was not misconduct, accepting Mr O’Callaghan’s suggestion that he did so to preserve faith in the police services.

The CCC was critical of the WA Police Internal Affairs investigation.  The investigation  did not resolve inconsistencies between police statements and the video footage.  The report recommends they take all evidence into consideration when assessing use of force incidents.  Mr O’Callaghan said he still has faith in the Internal Affairs department.

“In my mind nothing has changed in the last eighteen months ” Mr O’Callaghan said.

WA shadow attorney-general John Quigley said that in any other government department, such serious findings of misconduct would result in the officers being stood down.

“There’s a lesser standard of accountability in the police force” he said.

CCC media release: http://www.ccc.wa.gov.au/Publications/MediaReleases/Pages/MediaRelease16April2012.aspx

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/charges-recommended-for-spratt-taser-officers-20120416-1x2sz.html, http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/wa-police-change-tasering-rules-20120416-1x3as.html, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-04-18/police-taser-timeline-under-scrutiny/2611396