Complaint against officer substantiated, investigation complete

AFP Professional Standards (PRS) has completed an investigation into a complaint that an ACT Policing officer deployed Oleoresin Spray (OC) towards a tethered dog in a backyard during the course of a search warrant in May this year.

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Rudi Lammers said that the complaint was the subject of an extensive investigation by PRS and that a breach of the AFP Code of Conduct for excessive use of force had occurred.

“The ACT Policing member will be subject to a number of recommendations including formal counselling and re-training. We will be seeking RSPCA cooperation in this training and further training to officers in dealing with animals during their course of duty,” CPO Lammers said.

“This matter received extensive media coverage, and our PRS investigation was very thorough, with careful consideration to evidence in addition to publicly released CCTV footage. This meant the investigation took longer than usual.

“At the conclusion of that investigation there was no evidence to indicate the dog was contaminated with OC spray or subjected to any other form of injury or mistreatment and there will be no criminal charges against the officer in question.

“I am well aware of the significant feedback and concerns expressed about this matter and wish to reassure the ACT community that the AFP takes allegations of misconduct by its members very seriously and does not tolerate misbehavior. In addition, ACT Policing does not condone or tolerate cruelty to animals in any form and the outcomes of this investigation further reinforce this,” CPO Lammers said.

Ms Tammy Ven Dange, Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA ACT said that for RSPCA ACT, the welfare of the animal is always the most important aspect of an incident like this.

“While we were not formally involved in the AFP’s internal investigation, we acknowledge their report and welcome the opportunity to work potentially alongside ACT’s Domestic Animal Services on training activities for not just this police officer, but for any officer that might come into contact with animals to avoid similar events from occurring again,” Ms Ven Dange said.

The PRS report on this incident will not be released publicly.

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