Sexual assault staff a ‘coaching floor’

The AFP’s Scott Moller says police had been completely skilled when investigating Bruce Lehrmann. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

By Maeve Bannister in Canberra

YOUNG, inexperienced cops within the ACT are utilizing the sexual assault and baby abuse division as a “coaching floor”, an impartial inquiry has been instructed. 

Australian Federal Police detective superintendent Scott Moller is worried concerning the inexperience throughout the territory’s police sexual assault and baby abuse staff (SACAT) which then places strain on senior officers.

Supt Moller was the lead officer who investigated Brittany Higgins’ allegation her former colleague Bruce Lehrmann raped her in 2019, contained in the Parliament Home workplace of then coalition minister Linda Reynolds after an evening out. Mr Lehrmann denies the allegation.

The senior officer instructed the inquiry SACAT was a “coaching floor for budding detectives” to study their methods.

He mentioned officers had been “very younger and inexperienced” and whereas the organisation took delight in the truth that the division was used to supply coaching, this additionally introduced challenges.

“One of many issues that I see from an organisational perspective is… we’ve depleted the expertise to an extent the place we have now very younger officers working investigations with minimal or lower than very best route from a senior officer,” Supt Moller instructed the inquiry.

“What I’m saying is… it’s diluted, in some respects, that have degree in ACT Policing.”

Supt Moller mentioned “only a few” officers within the division had accomplished an AFP sexual assault coaching program. He admitted he personally had not accomplished this system.

“Clearly, there’s a spot for the tutorial facets of coaching, however a lot of the coaching in ACT Policing is derived from expertise,” he mentioned.

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“The issue we’re seeing now’s we don’t have the huge quantity of officers to go that have on (and we’re) left with very, only a few… to construct that have within the groups.

“The coaching (officers) are given in the meanwhile is realized on the job.”

Supt Moller mentioned there was “completely” room for enchancment when it got here to police coaching in sexual assault responses.

The senior detective earlier denied an accusation he confirmed bias in favour of Mr Lehrmann.

High silk Mark Tedeschi KC, representing ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold, drew the senior officer’s consideration to a remark he “appreciated” on a LinkedIn publish in December 2022.

It adopted the announcement prosecutors would drop the cost in opposition to Mr Lehrmann as a consequence of fears concerning the impression of a second trial on Ms Higgins’ psychological well being.

Supt Moller appreciated a remark that mentioned: “Mr Lehrmann is harmless till confirmed in any other case.”
The remark went on to say the previous Liberal staffer didn’t should be “negatively labelled for the remainder of his life” and the creator was “deeply shocked” by a few of Mr Drumgold’s reported feedback on the case.

Mr Tedeschi instructed it was “fully inappropriate” that Supt Moller had appreciated the remark in his capability as a detective superintendent of the unsolved murder squad.

He instructed this confirmed a bias from the investigator in favour of Mr Lehrmann.

“No, I don’t agree with that. What I consider it reveals is that I appreciated the remark, I agreed with the remark,” Supt Moller mentioned.

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“I’ll settle for that in hindsight I in all probability shouldn’t have appreciated the remark.”

Open or closed, Moller bats away the questions

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Ian Meikle, editor