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Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
19/08/2011
Integrity testing

CLOSE, Assistant Commissioner Leanne, National Manager, Human Resources, Australian Federal Police

SENGSTOCK, Ms Elsa, Coordinator, Legislation Program, Australian Federal Police

[10.03]

CHAIR: I now welcome representatives from the Australian Federal Police. You have lodged a submission with the committee which we have numbered as submission 10. Would you like to make any amendments or additions to that submission?

Ms Close : No.

CHAIR: I invite you to make an opening statement, at the end of which we will ask questions.

Ms Close : Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee as part of its inquiry into integrity testing. The Australian Federal Police places a high priority on safeguarding the integrity of our organisation to ensure that it meets the expectations of government and the community that it serves. AFP appointees are subject to high levels of accountability and scrutiny in relation to both their on-duty and off-duty conduct. The AFP maintains a robust and transparent professional standards framework that is underpinned by three essential pillars: prevention, detection and response. The three pillars recognise that the approach to deterring and combating corruption is multifaceted. The AFP also has a robust relationship with the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Both are important partners in ensuring organisational integrity. No one measure alone can certainly deter corruption. It is important from our perspective that a holistic approach is taken, and that approach includes education and training, early detection, a strong leadership culture and effective guidance to assist AFP appointees to make ethical decisions. These are all measures that are undertaken by the AFP under our professional standards umbrella.

The AFP recognises that integrity testing could be an additional useful tool in our integrity toolbox. The AFP has considered integrity testing for several years as part of its regular ongoing review and refinement of its professional standards framework. In doing so, the AFP has had regard to the current integrity environment within the AFP and the maturity of various aspects of professional standards framework. To date, the AFP has not had a significant problem that has warranted the need for integrity testing to be implemented immediately; however, it is important that the AFP is not complacent. This inquiry therefore provides us a timely opportunity to consider current integrity arrangements and examine in more detail the scope of proposed integrity testing within the AFP and the Commonwealth generally.

CHAIR: The AFP has been considering integrity testing for several years. What consultations has the AFP had with other jurisdictions, other integrity agencies, police forces, that have established integrity testing systems, both overseas and within Australia?

Ms Close : We have certainly worked closely with other state and territory jurisdictions within Australia. Through the Australian New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency—ANZPAA—there is a working group that has been looking at these issues for some time. We have worked with individual states and territories, some of whom already have an integrity testing framework, whether that is within a legislative framework or an administrative framework under their commissioner's powers. We certainly have had negotiations with those agencies to understand the extent and the frameworks that they are operating within. We have undertaken some other more general research internationally to look at some of the models there; that has been more limited. There is also an integrity practitioners committee.

Ms Sengstock : The ANZPAA Integrity Testing Practitioners Committee is the forum in which the states and territories and ourselves participate to discuss those kinds of issues. We are a participant in that, and we have been learning from their experience as they are going through it.

CHAIR: Who are the members of that committee?

Ms Sengstock : It is all the jurisdictions, so it is all of the eight Australian state and territory police services, the AFP and the New Zealand Police Service.

Ms Close : It is basically the heads of their professional standards departments.

CHAIR: Integrity testing regimes in other jurisdictions involve both random and targeted integrity testing. Test issues range from misconduct to serious corruption involving organised crime. What level of behaviour would the AFP consider if integrity testing was introduced?

Ms Close : It would be that broad gamut from misconduct through to serious corruption, whether that is systemic or by an individual. It would be a useful tool for all of those sorts of situations.

CHAIR: What would be the AFP's preferred model of integrity testing?

Ms Close : We would prefer a targeted model to be introduced, if that was something that we would look at through legislation or through the commissioner's administrative powers. The reason for that is that it is quite resource intensive, and we would look at these situations from an intelligence led basis. Random testing is much more generic. It is certainly an option that we have not discounted, but if such a regime is introduced, we would initially prefer the targeted approach, do some analysis of how successful that has been, do a cost-benefit analysis, and then perhaps we would look at a more random approach if that was required.

CHAIR: Do you think that a random approach might be useful if, for example, there is a particular trend occurring in an area? If you do not have any suspicions about particular officers, but there is a trend in a certain police location or a spike of complaints about a group of officers, would you look at that?

Ms Close : Yes, certainly. I think it is probably around the definitions that could be termed a targeted approach as well. The blurring between random and targeted cannot be defined if you do not have a specific individual that you are looking at rather than a function.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Does the AFP have the right skills to conduct integrity testing? If not, what resources would you need to do that if it were introduced?

Ms Close : Certainly we would have the majority of skills that would be required: we already operate with our surveillance officers, we have telephone interception capabilities, and we have our normal investigative and operational processes. They would all go towards this type of framework. Some more specific training would be required of officers involved in that in terms of the governance around what would be involved and the operation of legislation if that was appropriate. There would need to be some specific training for our officers in that regard.

Ms Sengstock : One of the things that the integrity testing practitioner forum looks at is whether or not there needs to be sort of standardised training across the states and territories and with the Commonwealth so that everyone can learn from each other's experience and build those skills collectively.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I think I read somewhere in your submission, although I cannot find it now I am looking for it, that to set up an integrity testing capability would cost in the vicinity of $8 million. Did you say that?

Ms Close : Yes.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I did not dream that?

Ms Close : No.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: How did you come to that figure? What was the extent of the testing that would reach that figure?

Ms Close : That was looking at probably the worst-case scenario where we would need a lot of resources from the intelligence officers and analysts right through to surveillance operatives and, as I said, perhaps telephone interception or listening device capabilities. Developing the scenarios that would be utilised for the integrity testing, depending how broad they are, would require training for our officers, and there would be a governance framework required. So all of those sorts of costs were taken into consideration.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Does your current budget allow that sort of additional expenditure? I am sure the answer will be no, but I will ask it just the same.

Ms Close : We have certainly taken the approach that this is not as high a priority as the other work that we are undertaking, particularly, as I said in the opening statement, around our education awareness and ensuring that we have a culture that avoids having situations where we have to then resort to an integrity test perhaps. We feel that the culture of our organisation, right from induction of our new staff through to regular testing and the other processes that we have outlined here this morning, is just as important in ensuring people are not tempted and do not become corrupt. We think that trying to prevent those sorts of activities, making people understand what working within an ethical framework is and giving them tools to be able to make correct judgments is just as important. That is where we have certainly focused our resources at this point.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I am unaware of what you do at your inductions and the sort of education you are talking about. I have no obvious knowledge of that, but do you think if you said when you were inducting people, 'We have a random integrity testing regime as well, so do not do anything naughty or you are going to be found out', would that help?

Ms Close : It really depends on the individual, I suppose. Also, what we are finding through our investigations that we undertake regularly is that some people fall into these situations for various reasons. It may have a deterrent effect on some people and not others, depending on what circumstances those individuals find themselves in.

Ms Sengstock : I think our experience is that if you let people know that you have a zero tolerance policy towards misconduct and that you have a full suite of measures that you use which are appropriate to the individual circumstances, that sends a very clear message about the culture of the organisation and the standards that are expected of those officers. So the integrity testing regime, whether it is random or targeted, would be another element of that framework, and obviously individuals would need to take that into account as to whether or not they would find that personally deterring. We certainly hope it would be.

Mr SIMPKINS: Thank you for your submission. With regard to the committee of jurisdictional representatives, is their approach to this to establish their standalone units, and what expectations have been talked about regarding the federal government?

Ms Close : Certainly at the moment it is based on standalone units and sharing with each other lessons learnt. The reason that it is standalone, I guess, is that it is separate legislative frameworks within each of the state jurisdictions or some of them are using administrative powers by virtue of their commissioner's powers. That is why it is separate and standalone.

Ms Sengstock : I think it is in terms of their existing professional standards units. So, like the AFP has a standalone professional standards unit, integrity testing is part of that unit's practices, just the same way that if we had a regime, whether or not we did it fully in-house or outsourced part of it, it would form part of that portfolio's responsibilities.

Mr SIMPKINS: But you still have to use the expertise of squads like surveillance teams around the country that are not part of the standalone?

Ms Close : That is correct. We already have agreements in place for current activities, whether it is a criminal investigation or a professional standards internal investigation, where we have arrangements and agreements that will assist each other where necessary.

Mr SIMPKINS: With respect to the expectations, what does everyone want from their local state or the federal government?

Ms Close : That is a difficult question to answer, because I am not party to that forum. I think they are just utilising the resources and the legislation that they have available to them to undertake that and trying to work as a team to share resourcing where it is necessary.

Ms Sengstock : My understanding is that forum is about information sharing so they can start to develop some best practice techniques and talk about their experiences, and also build those cooperative relationships so that there can be a sharing of resources, skills and capabilities between jurisdictions.

Mr SIMPKINS: One point of clarification: would not this be a good forum for firing up recommendations for legislation at either state or Commonwealth level beyond the interactions, the joint capacities and experts' recommendations to government as to what could be better?

Ms Close : It can be utilised for that process as well. We are looking at this from a federal police perspective and our legislative frameworks. We would utilise and review what is happening with the legislation in other jurisdictions and, as I said, use their experiences of what has worked within their legislation, lessons learnt, and then put that forward.

Mr HAYES: The Wood Royal Commission in New South Wales essentially gave rise to a lot of things in terms of police integrity, but also the development of the Police Integrity Commission itself, which has now used for many years a targeted testing regime. Much of that came about because of public pressures on policing agencies where the parliaments— in that case, the New South Wales parliament—increased the powers of police. Police came under greater pressure to ensure that they were corruption free. Could you tell us a little bit about the similar public pressures to ensure that every effort is taken to ensure that the AFP is corruption free?

Ms Close : Certainly. We have talked briefly already about the culture that we have in the AFP and our zero tolerance for corruption. So our education awareness program, right from induction of new police recruits, new protective service officers or our unsworn staff, are all exposed to what it means to be a member of the AFP and the fact that we do not tolerate corruption or misconduct. As well as that, we have several support mechanisms within the agency to ensure people feel free and comfortable and supported to be able to come forward and report. We have a confidant network that operates very strongly within the AFP. We have put in other systems and processes for anonymous reporting. We also encourage people if they feel that they have not been adequately heard within our organisation to go to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. We have a range of different integrity programs such as our drug testing program. We will alcohol test people as well where circumstances arise that we need to. All of these things are regularly communicated to our staff as well through ongoing training programs, as well as our investigative teams who are actually investigating matters of this nature.

Mr HAYES: There are a number of distinguishing things about police officers to other employees. In fact, police officers are not and cannot be seen as employees at common law. I think police officers have their fingerprints taken. I am not sure about the AFP, but I think you also have their DNA taken as well?

Ms Close : No, not at this point in time. We have certainly been exploring that option, but we have not introduced that yet.

Mr HAYES: Also, common across most police jurisdictions is that the police are subject to further engagement subject to maintaining the commissioner's confidence, and that is something that you clearly have?

Ms Close : Yes.

Mr HAYES: In respect of sworn police officers, they are not employees because they hold the office of constable. What about the non-sworn employees of the AFP who, unlike other public servants, are not engaged under the Public Service Act but are actually employed under the AFP Act itself?

Ms Close : That is right. That is why they are subject to the same disciplinary process and professional standards framework within which we operate. They are given the same training and awareness and information that our police officers and protective service officers are provided with.

Mr HAYES: So it would be your expectation that they would be subject to an integrity testing regime as well?

Ms Close : Yes.

Mr HAYES: Presumably many of your non-sworn police would also have access to a significant amount of confidential information that might be valuable in certain quarters?

Ms Close : That is right, and that is why they are subject to the same provisions.

Senator SINGH: In the AFP's submission, you mention that in order to properly examine the development and implementation of an integrity testing regime that you undertook a desktop benchmarking exercise. Can you elaborate on what that exactly was and when that was taken?

Ms Sengstock : That was conducted several years ago, and it examined some of the academic references that we have referred to in the submission. So it was very much a preliminary research exercise to look at some of the pros and cons of integrity testing and also the different models for integrity testing. Again, I think as we mentioned at the outset, we have looked at integrity testing a number of times, but at each stage had not gone in depth into it because it was not the right time to pursue it.

Senator SINGH: What were the outcomes of that exercise?

Ms Sengstock : I think the outcomes were that it gave us a sense that we had a preference for targeted testing, just because it seemed to offer more benefits for the resources that are involved rather than a random program that would be very resource intense and could have some negative effects on the morale of staff involved. Again, it was just our preliminary views having looked at those resources.

Senator SINGH: What kind of sample was that exercise based on? What was the breadth of it?

Ms Sengstock : My understanding is it was not particularly broad or deep. I was not there at the time when it was conducted.

Ms Close : We certainly looked at the Victorian police model. I was party to a senior leadership group meeting with assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and the commissioner. We had presentations from the Victoria Police about their experience, the length of time it took to establish their integrity testing framework and regime, and also talking about the resourcing and other implications from a legislative versus administrative framework.

Senator PARRY: I will go to a couple of examples and ask you to comment on random versus targeted. If you had a police station with say 50 employees and there was theft from personal lockers and you could not work out who was conducting the theft, would you then use a targeted approach? Would you set up a surveillance operation or would you set up some form of random integrity testing? How would you define what is what? I am trying to determine whether we need random, whether we need targeted, or whether we need both?

Ms Close : The way we would deal with that issue at this point in time is through surveillance—whether we set up some cameras or other sorts of processes like that.

Senator PARRY: Assuming the personnel would understand, because you would have police personnel understanding that that is a possibility, so surveillance may be thwarted through knowledge?

Ms Close : That is true, but we already have that in existence with our professional standards investigations that we undertake currently. There are methods that we utilise for criminal investigations or for internal investigations where we try not to alert those people to the investigation that is underway.

Senator PARRY: Would you then move to a model of targeting and then using some form of entrapment, an agent provocateur by using an unknown identity to that particular locality?

Ms Close : We certainly do not have a legislative basis to be allowed to do that at this point in time.

Senator PARRY: Let us just imagine that we have done this and you do have that, is that where you would need that sort of legislative framework? Is that where you would need that type of integrity testing?

Ms Close : We do not subscribe to entrapment in this case. However, integrity testing in that scenario would allow us to place items in a certain locality, have some sort of forensic ability to track that item, and identify who has perhaps stolen that. So, integrity testing in that example would allow us that opportunity to undertake that scenario.

Senator PARRY: Okay. So this is really all targeted. It is either targeted or, as I indicated to the previous witnesses, it is verging on just a normal surveillance or normal operation of detecting an offence. Let us have the same police station, the same number of personnel and you had no evidence of this: would you think you would need to then leave money around, leave a locker open with a few hundred dollars in it? Would you do that? That would then be random. Is that something that the AFP would like or need?

Ms Close : No, we do not believe that we need that within the AFP. We feel that the culture that we have generated over many years, the education, the awareness of the ethical framework in which we operate, the strength of the investigations area that we undertake from an internal investigations perspective, would not require that within our organisation.

Senator PARRY: What about further up the scale? What if we look at property stores and secure locations; would you feel it possible that you would need some form of random testing for property stores? I suppose it does not really apply to the AFP as much as state jurisdictions, but where you have secure property, valued property, in particular, seized drugs?

Ms Close : We already do have those sorts of stores or property housing areas within the organisation. From our perspective, having strong governance, having checks and balances in place already, doing regular auditing of those functions, both internal auditing and with external auditors as well coming in, that is where we are trying to avoid having to do some sort of random integrity testing to test people whether they will or will not steal something at a particular point in time.

Senator PARRY: Basically you are indicating that you do not see a need, or the AFP does not see a need for random integrity testing per se within the organisation?

Ms Close : Not at this point in time. We would certainly explore that in the future, but our preference would be to introduce targeted integrity testing based on the intelligence risk profile, whether it is an individual or a particular function. Then assessing the suitability, the success and analysing the outcomes of that, we could then explore whether random was required.

Senator PARRY: I know you were present in the room when I asked the Integrity Commissioner the question about the need for legislative reform to have particular targeted integrity testing legislation when the legislation currently will enable police to survey, collect evidence and prosecute eventually. Can you give me some examples of where integrity testing or the added legislative provision for integrity testing would aid the AFP?

Ms Close : It would certainly be an additional tool if we did not have the threshold of evidence to warrant undertaking a controlled operation, for example, or mount a criminal prosecution against a person or a group of people. As you have indicated in some of the examples, if we have a suspicion through some intelligence that there is a particular problem in an area but we cannot actually identify who that might be, integrity testing would certainly provide us an additional tool to be able to investigate that.

Senator PARRY: The advantage is that you end up truncating a lengthy process of targeting individuals when you can target an entire area by setting up some integrity test?

Ms Close : Yes, perhaps.

Senator CAMERON: Thanks, Assistant Commissioner. It is a complex area. I think you have said in your submission that it is complex. One of the issues you raised in your verbal submission was the example in response to questions from Senator Parry about some object being left somewhere and then tracked. Is that not entrapment?

Ms Close : It probably depends on the definition of entrapment and how the scope of the legislative provisions would be. It really depends on the scenario on how you establish where you leave that item, who is then attracted to take the item and that sort of thing. It could be considered that.

Senator CAMERON: What if it is an unwary innocent as the Americans describe it? Are you aware of that?

Ms Close : Yes.

Senator CAMERON: Tough luck for the unwary innocent.

Ms Close : No. Integrity testing would not be the end of or the sum of our investigation either. That would just be one part of an investigation, including all of the other intelligence that we have gathered, utilising all of the investigative techniques that we currently utilise as well, as well as providing the sufficient evidence, whether it is for an internal disciplinary matter or for a criminal prosecution. We still have to meet those thresholds.

Senator CAMERON: So it is basically a sting, is it not?

Ms Close : It could be.

Senator CAMERON: Yes, a deceptive operation to catch a person committing a crime—that is the definition, is it not?

Ms Close : Yes, that is exactly right.

Senator CAMERON: You say you formed this internal working group to consider the complex legal, financial and human impact of the various models, and you have consulted with the police association on that?

Ms Close : Yes.

Senator CAMERON: In clause 19 on page six you say with respect to the issue of the 1996 study by KPMG into the New York City Police Department's random integrity testing program that it is not really cost effective. Is that the basis of why you argue that you would rather have targeted than random?

Ms Close : It is not just on that basis. It is very resource intensive to undertake integrity testing scenarios—again depending on the complexity of the behaviour that we are targeting. Cost does come into it, but it is not the ultimate deciding factor of why we have not gone there. Really, it is a complex legislative or procedural process that we would have to undergo to research and implement effectively.

Senator CAMERON: I do not know whether it is just pure coincidence, but Ridgeway v the Queen was in about 1995 and the New York Police KPMG study was 1996; it seems to me there was a lot of activity around the mid-1990s in relation to integrity testing. Was there a reason for that?

Ms Close : I think it resulted in a lot of outcomes from various royal commissions and commissions of inquiry across the world. There was certainly a cultural shift in organisations across the world as well in looking at what is integrity and what is corruption, and policing services were obviously at the forefront of some of the negative aspects of all of that.

Senator CAMERON: I have a number of questions but we are running out of time so I might just put some questions on notice, if that is okay. You say on page eight at clause 31 that the suite of tools available for integrity testing is limited. Is there any chance you could give us a supplementary submission or an answer to this question about what is the limit that you see here? You make the statement, but there is no detail. I would like to get some detail.

Ms Sengstock : Certainly. I will give you a short answer now but we will follow up with something more comprehensive. The existing suite of covert policing tools like controlled operations or telecommunications interception sets certain threshold requirements. Obviously in many cases if you had the evidence to meet that threshold, you would have been doing a criminal investigation into the behaviour. With an integrity testing regime, if you have some intelligence to suggest that there is something there that you want to look into further, you may not have enough to meet those threshold tests. So that is why at the moment, yes, we could within our means do an undercover operation to a limited extent, but we would not be able to do it to the full extent that we would if it was criminal.

Senator CAMERON: So if you were seeking legislation from parliament to authorise your integrity testing regime, do you believe that parliament should set down the thresholds?

Ms Sengstock : I think that is an important safeguard to have. We are certainly keen that the parameters and scope of what we could do on an integrity testing regime are very clear and endorsed by parliament. It gives us very clear guidance to work towards and allows us to structure our internal governance mechanisms beneath that. The question of whether or not thresholds for covert policing powers should be altered in any way to allow for integrity testing is another big set of policy issues that needs to be considered separately.

Senator CAMERON: You raise the point of an authorisation process for conducting integrity tests. Could you give us some detailed consideration on what that process could look like? On the oversight, do you have a preference for either the Commonwealth Ombudsman or ACLEI, and not just because you like one or the other, but is there any legislative or administrative issues that would lead you to say one would be better than the other?

Ms Close : As to the first part of the question in relation to the governance framework that we would envisage being in place, for us it would be very similar to the way that we manage controlled operations activities currently. It is just not a case of the officers thinking that the scenario they are going to run is a good idea. Internally within the AFP we have several steps in the process of sign off before a controlled operation is approved. The investigators put the information together, that goes through to an independent committee of superintendents and a commander, and then there is a final assistant-commissioner-level person who reviews all of that material and signs off the controlled operation. That is the sort of governance that we put in place for controlled operations. We would envisage something of a similar nature. For this type of activity, it would probably be a higher level that we would have these operations running, and obviously professional standards would have a significant role to play in that.

In terms of a preference, we do not have a preference. The law enforcement integrity commissioner has some limited powers in respect of looking at corruption related matters. As we spoke earlier, if we are looking at the gamut from serious misconduct or misconduct through to corruption, there may be some limitations about the oversight that that would entail. That is why we do not really have a preference at this point in time, recognising some of those aspects of the law.

CHAIR: You have noted in your submission the potential role of ACLEI in integrity testing, either as having an oversight role or as potentially being involved in preparatory stages of an integrity test, or jointly or by itself conducting integrity tests. Do you have any more specific ideas on what you would like ACLEI to do?

Ms Close : No, we do not have any strong views at this point in time. We have certainly explored some of those options, but without actually sitting down and talking to each of the relevant agencies and looking at the complete framework of how we would see this operating, and doing some more of that in-depth research, we do not have a preference at this point in time.

CHAIR: If the AFP were to introduce an integrity testing regime, would you establish an integrity testing team within professional standards, or would it just be a general part of professional standards?

Ms Close : Yes, I would envisage a specific team. The management of the scenarios, the coordination, the governance that needs to be in place, would require a team to actually manage this new type of capability.

CHAIR: Would you envisage seeking legal advice prior to each scenario being carried out, like the New York Police Department consulting the DA's office before it carries out a targeted test?

Ms Close : Yes, that would certainly be a consideration that we would have.

CHAIR: I guess you already have established relationships with them?

Ms Close : We have a strong and a good relationship already via the nature of what we do with our internal investigations and more generally in our operations in the AFP. We have a strong legal team that supports and provides advice to us.

CHAIR: The suggestion from New York was that you would have to have a relationship with particular people within the prosecution office rather than with the prosecution office in general because, of course, those people also have a relationship with other police officers. This is in order to ensure that information was not going out too widely.

Ms Close : That is correct. We do that as well now, and we also have good relationships with certain people within the Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Government Solicitor's office. Again, we could work through those sorts of options to be able to have the best advice, but also bear in mind the sensitive and private nature of these types of investigations.

CHAIR: Just to return to this issue of random and targeted in which we are all very interested, the New York Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau said they could not imagine having an integrity testing regime without including the option of random testing. In fact, they said that 25 per cent of their testing is targeted and 75 per cent is random. They referred to an example in the early days of setting up their integrity testing regime that they would have the wallet being handed in a scenario. They said they have not actually used that for a number of years, but the majority of police still believe that they are carrying out those tests. They said it is very beneficial to have every police officer believing that any given scenario could be an integrity test. They were very adamant about the deterrent effect of random testing. We have also heard other evidence and in submissions about the potential impact on morale if there were to be such a random testing possibility. What is your thought on that? Do you think there would be that terrible downside?

Ms Close : There could be a downside to it with morale, but it is the same with any other new initiative in this integrity framework where we have introduced, for example, drug testing. It comes with a lot of awareness, marketing and education for the workforce to explain the reasons and what the process is, and a period of settling in time once people are aware of how this operates. If we were looking at a legislative framework, I would certainly suggest that we would not want to limit it to targeted only within the framework, but that random does offer us some other opportunities. It would then just depend on the actual scenario that we were dealing with at that particular point in time as to which option the agency is able to utilise in that circumstance.

CHAIR: So you would like to have the option of doing either?

Ms Close : I think that is the appropriate way to go if we are looking at this approach. However, as I said at the outset, in establishing such a regime, we would look at some targeted approaches first and do that analysis based on intelligence and the threat and risk at that point.

Senator WRIGHT: I have been looking at the integrity testing model table that you have provided us with. I note that there is only one of those, which is the high-cost model, which includes test authorisation. What is the distinction between test authorisation and final approval? At what point might you have potentially an independent agency or an independent viewpoint on what is being proposed, taking into account the concerns about potential entrapment? What is the difference in the design of the exercise?

Ms Sengstock : In terms of test authorisation, there might be a senior officer who is responsible for initially authorising the test on the application of less senior officers, and the final approval stage would be more likely at your higher level AP executive. The consultation with, say, the Integrity Commissioner, would probably come in between those two stages. I think as the Integrity Commissioner mentioned in his evidence, it is useful then to make sure that you are not overlapping on investigation, but also because that acts as an additional safeguard in terms of making sure you are avoiding entrapment type issues.

Senator WRIGHT: Would you envisage that that would be an additional significant cost in the process, to have that, because I do not think it is in this table?

Ms Sengstock : No. This table is sort of based on what kind of generic capabilities you would need. It does not really factor in how you would engage other agencies into it. But, certainly we could factor that in. I think the real costs come from the test development and the test execution stage, because a lot of resources have to go into actually doing a feasibility assessment, doing a risk assessment—not only operational risk but the legal risks that are involved—actually designing a robust test that will not only achieve the outcomes you are looking for but also avoid those entrapment issues.

The approval and the consultation stage is probably quite straightforward and less resource intensive. The test itself, depending on the kind of test, could involve anything from a short one-day test with some limited surveillance to a very long period of surveillance using all different sorts of teams and measures. They are the ends where the costs are. Engagement with oversight bodies is, I guess, just part of the normal practice of approval processes.

CHAIR: I want to thank our witnesses for taking the time to give evidence today. Since we are just at the beginning of our inquiry, we may well need to come back to you with further questions.

Ms Close : Certainly.

CHAIR: But thank you for your time today.

Ms Close : Thank you.

Proceedings suspended from 10 : 46 to 11 : 01