Suspended Superintendent Michael Rowan has been found to have engaged in serious misconduct.
A report on Operation Errigal released today, Wednesday June 26, from the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) has found he lied during investigations, failed to declare conflicts of interest, improperly influenced an officers recording or a domestic violence incident, among a range of other misconduct breaches.
Not only has Rowan's behaviour found to have been at fault, but the report also details a female officer also engaged in serious misconduct.
It is recommended both officers have action taken against them as a result of the findings.
The report details Superintendent Rowan's misconduct in the following:
- He lied to the Commission during his evidence.
- He failed to declare conflicts of interest in accordance with NSWPF policy.
- He improperly influenced an officer's recording of a domestic violence incident in the police database.
- He acted contrary to a superior officer's direction.
- He inappropriately became involved in the investigation of another officer's conduct.
- His conduct brought the NSWPF into disrepute.
The female officer engaged in serious misconduct by lying to the Commission when giving evidence, and knowingly disregarded a superior officer's direction.
The investigation arose from a complaint about the conduct of Superintendent Rowan, who was Commander of a Local Area Command (LAC) from April 2008 until his suspension in September 2018.
The complaint centred around Rowan's alleged personal relationships with staff from the LAC, in particular with three officers, and the impact those alleged relationships had on Rowan's decision-making as a Commander.
Complaints about Rowan's conduct had been investigated previously by the NSW Police Force, after three allegations against Rowan were brought to light.
The allegation surrounded one particular officer's preferential treatment in 2010, when she was given the benefit of police housing because of her personal relationship with Rowan.
Rowan's claimed at the time the house was allocated, the relationship hadn't yet begun.
The second allegation was another officer had been given a temporary appointment prior to her promotion to Sergeant because of an alleged intimate relationship with Rowan.
These two complaints were not perused further by the NSWPF.
The third investigation was into an allegation of sexual harassment between another police officer against the officer in the second allegation, who had been retired as medically unfit for duty.
The alleged harasser claimed Rowan was in an intimate relationship with that officer during their investigations. The relationship was not looked into at the time.
On September 13, 2018, the LECC determined to take over the investigation of outstanding complaints against Rowan, with the Commission holding a number of private hearings in December 2018.
Both Rowan and the female officer were found engaged in serious misconduct on a number of occasions, which are set out in the Operation Errigal report.
The report recommends the Director of Public Prosecutions give advice to prosecute Rowan for:
- without reasonable excuse, willfully obstruct, hinder, resist or threaten the Commission in the exercise of its functions (LECC Act s148 (a)(i)); and
- knowingly give evidence that is false or misleading in a material particular (LECC Act s 151).
The Commission recommends that consideration be given to taking action against Rowan and the female officer under s181D of the Police Act1990.
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