The Australian Defence Force is enhancing its investigative capability to a highly trained service capable of investigating Service offences, independently impartially and to a standard that equals best practice in the Australian civilian police and investigation services. This follows an audit into the ADF Investigative Capability. Defence agreed to 99 of the audit's recommendations and is implementing them as a matter of priority.
To date 55 recommendations have been completed, including:
• Appointing the Provost Marshal ADF.
• Developing an implementation plan for the agreed recommendations of the Audit into the ADF Investigative Capability Report.
• Establishing a new joint ADF Investigative unit (known as the ADF Investigative Service) headed by the Provost Marshal ADF who is outside single service chains of command. This new joint unit is responsible for investigating more serious Service offences and other incidents and will provide a central point of contact for consultation and engagement with civilian policing authorities on the referral of offences, training, secondments, exchanges of information and best practice. The Provost Marshal ADF now controls some 140 qualified investigators and direct support personnel, giving him central oversight and control of ADF investigations.
Background to the audit
In February 2006, the Chief of the Defence Force commissioned an Audit into the ADF Investigative Capability as required by the Government response to recommendation 6 of the 2005 Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Report into 'The Effectiveness of Australia's Military Justice System'. The Audit Report identified shortfalls in the performance of Service Police investigations.
The Audit was conducted openly and transparently by an Audit team comprising Rear Admiral Brian Adams (Retd), a former Head of the Defence Personnel Executive, and former Deputy Australian Federal Police Commissioner Adrien Whiddett. Mr Whiddett's considerable experience and insight into contemporary policing issues, and the valuable advice provided by the Australian Federal Police throughout the audit, contributed to the quality of the Report.
The team were appointed to identify those measures required to provide the ADF with an effective and efficient investigative capability. This included building a better relationship between the military and civilian authorities on police investigations and related matters to improve Service Police effectiveness.
The Audit Report found the ADF's investigative capability was in serious decline and that remediation was likely to take at least five years. The Report recommended changes in almost every aspect of Service policing and confirmed the intention to establish a joint ADF investigative unit independent of the Service chains of command.
The Audit Report provides Defence with the opportunity to transform the existing ADF investigative capability into a highly trained service capable of investigating Service offences, independently, impartially and to a standard that equals best practice in the Australian civilian police and investigation services.