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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the national and principal federal law enforcement agency of the Australian Government. Its role is to enforce Commonwealth criminal law; contribute to combating complex, transnational, serious and organised crime impacting Australia’s national security; and to protect Commonwealth interests from criminal activity in Australia and overseas.

AFP officers are able to exercise powers under more than 80 separate Commonwealth Acts, including a range of powers pursuant to warrant. It is important that the AFP has appropriate administrative frameworks to ensure that powers are exercised lawfully and in accordance with authorised procedures; and that officers are adequately trained to exercise powers that are conferred upon them.

The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the AFP’s framework to ensure the lawful exercise of powers in accordance with applicable legislation.

Main conclusions:

  • The AFP’s framework to ensure the lawful exercise of powers in accordance with applicable legislation is largely effective. There are serious deficiencies in the AFP’s record keeping practices and processes.
  • The AFP has a largely effective accountability and reporting framework for the lawful exercise of its powers. The AFP met statutory reporting requirements under three key Acts examined. However, internal records relating to execution of section 3E Crimes Act warrants are stored in a way whereby retrieval is unable to be achieved efficiently or with an assurance of completeness.
  • The AFP’s framework relating to training and guidance is largely effective. However, it has not undertaken a training needs analysis at the whole-of-organisation level and there is limited quality assurance assessment of operational activity.
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Auditor-General Report No.43 2020–21