The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, warning about delays in politicians reporting criminal conduct.
The letter from Reece Kershaw comes in the wake of sexual assault allegations made by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.
“I cannot state strongly enough the importance of timely referrals of allegations of criminal conduct,” Commissioner Kershaw said in the letter, first published by news.com.au.
“Failure to report alleged criminal behaviour in this manner, or choosing to communicate or disseminate allegations via other means, such as through the media or third parties, risks prejudicing any subsequent police investigation.
“Any delay in reporting criminal conduct can result in the loss of key evidence, continuation of the offending and/or reoffending by the alleged perpetrator.”
The letter, dated yesterday, was addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and has since been circulated to politicians by Parliament’s Serjeant-at-Arms.
Commissioner Kershaw said members, senators and their offices could receive complaints from a variety of sources but that they should be referred to the AFP without delay, “taking into account the rights and privacy of the victim”.
He said that should happen regardless of which jurisdiction in which the alleged conduct occurred.
-more to come