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In accordance with the relevant provisions of The Criminal Code, the Ombudsman had an important function to keep under scrutiny the operation of the infringement notices provisions of The Criminal Code, relevant regulations made under The Criminal Code and the relevant provisions of the Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Act 2002 in relation to infringement notices (Criminal Code infringement notices). Importantly, this scrutiny included review of the impact of the operation of the provisions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The infringement notices provisions of The Criminal Code and the relevant regulations allow authorised officers to issue Criminal Code infringement notices for two prescribed offences, with a modified penalty of $500.
The report found that considerable positive work has been undertaken by Western Australia Police (WAPOL) to implement Criminal Code infringement notices effectively and identified opportunities for further work to be undertaken by WAPOL.
The report also found that the key economic objectives arising from the introduction of Criminal Code infringement notices have been achieved, including anticipated outcomes relating to reducing administrative demands on police officers and avoided court appearances for alleged offenders.
The report identified a range of impacts of the introduction of Criminal Code infringement notices on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (and in doing so also identified impacts for other people and communities experiencing vulnerability). The report identifies a range of measures to address these impacts (and concomitantly makes recommendations about these measures).
While certain of these recommended measures are specific to Criminal Code infringement notices, mostly these recommended measures are applicable to the impact of the broader criminal justice system on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (particularly the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system, including as recipients of Criminal Code infringement notices).
The report makes 34 recommendations relating to proposed amendments to the relevant regulations made under The Criminal Code as well as the proposed introduction of, or amendments to, other legislation, schemes, policies, procedures and other measures. The Ombudsman is very pleased that WAPOL has accepted each of the recommendations directed to them.
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