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SA Police to review sexual harassment within the force

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SA Police has commissioned an independent review to uncover the extent of sexual harassment, discrimination and “predatory behaviour” in the force.

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Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that there was “no significant concerns raised from current reports” but that SAPOL wanted an independent process so that employees who may not have otherwise come forward with complaints about workplace culture in the force could do so privately.

He told reporters this morning that he wanted the Equal Opportunity Commission review would help identify the level of under-reporting of sexual discrimination among police.

“I have commissioned the independent review as a health check of our workplace, which will identify the nature and extent of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in SAPOL,” Stevens said.

“We are seeking to eliminate discrimination, harassment and predatory behaviours that may exist, despite the efforts we’ve put in.

“It’s important to point out that this particular initiative is not being driven by any particular act, or event or issue.

“It is an opportunity that we are taking after about 20 years of any similar work of this type being done, to establish the health of our organisation in terms of the workplace culture that we provide.

“The Equal Opportunity Commissioner will [oversee] this review, completely independently of SAPOL, and provide a report, which will be made public at the conclusion of the review.

“South Australian Police employees, whether they be sworn officers, public servants or volunteers are encouraged to contact the review team.”

Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess said the Commission’s independent team would call for SAPOL employees to come forward with their experiences.

“We strongly encourage all SAPOL staff, regardless of gender, to participate in the review,” Burgess said.

“We want to hear about good practices, as well as any issues or concerns about what staff have seen, heard or experienced.

“To provide a contemporary picture of the current SAPOL workplace, the review will focus on the last five years and we will only be gathering perspectives from SAPOL staff – not the public.

“The identity of those who participate in the review will remain fully confidential and no individually identifying information will be collected or disclosed. Involvement in the review is entirely by consent.”

The Equal Opportunity Commission report is expected in August.

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