Policies

When and How to Call the Police

How to call the police

Triple 000 police emergencies aside, for non-life threatening situations you should call your local Police Station to report workplace misconduct issues using their local Police Station phone number and ask to speak to the Investigations Manager.

-If you are unsure of your local police phone number, search for ‘local police station phone number’ online.

When to call the police

First things first, if you become aware of a serious criminal offence (sometimes called serious indictable offences) and you do not report it then in some circumstances YOU may be committing an offence. These serious offences carry maximum imprisonment of 5 years or more.

Examples of serious criminal offences include:

  • Stealing including stealing from an employer, Fraud, Break & Enter
  • Assaults and drug charges (but not drug possession) and

The failure to these type of offences can* result in a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment.

*An exception to this rule is where the information was received while acting in a certain ‘prescribed profession’, which includes as a lawyer, doctor, nurse, psychologist, social worker, clergy, arbitrator, mediator etc. Such people can only be prosecuted with the approval of the Attorney General.

Some people are obligated to report by virtue of their job description. If this is you, you will know who you are according to your industry responsibilities. Typical examples include teachers, doctors, nurses or police officers who come across a child whom they suspect on reasonable grounds to be at risk of significant harm.

If you are unsure about your obligation to report a crime you should speak to your legal representative.

Use the following checklist to understand when to report to the police. You can make a report to the police whether or not you have conducted a workplace investigation.

Checklist

  • Does my organisation have a policy which requires criminal behaviour to be referred to the police? Yes / No
  • Do I reasonably believe a criminal offence has been committed? Yes / No
  • Do I have enough information to support my belief a criminal offence has occurred? Yes / No

-If no, decide whether you are able to get further information. If you are unsure speak to your legal representative. Never put yourself in danger in order to obtain ‘evidence’.

  • If the person being reported is an employee, or their details are known, do you have their details available to give to the police Yes / No 

-Don’t worry, you don’t need the offenders details to report the matter to police

  • Do I have someone who will make the official report to police and act as the ‘victim’ or on behalf of the victim organisation?

-If no, decide who will take responsibility and have them report the matter. Remember, this person may be required to assist with gathering further information or give evidence in court.

Remember: The police are not debt collectors. If your reason for reporting to the police is to retrieve money you believe you are owed, then there are civil channels. Seek advice from your legal representative or collections office.

What can I expect now I have reported the matter to the police?

  1. The police may decide to take no action (for a number of reasons)
  2. The investigation can take a long time, sometimes years, for the police to investigate
  3. Once investigated there may not be enough evidence for the police to lay charges or the matter may lose at court (court proceedings can also take a long time, sometimes years) 

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