EXCLUSIVE: The NT Police college failed to meet national standards in nearly every measure and had “serious non-compliances around staff qualifications”, a scathing audit obtained by the NT Independent reveals.
The audit report found the college employed unqualified instructors, failed to keep proper records of cadet training and could not determine at times what certification should be issued to graduates.
It was also revealed in the report that staff told the auditors in some instances “participants had completed their course before the college was aware anyone was enrolled”.
The September 2017 external audit report prepared by Training Risk Solutions – the college’s most recent audit – paints a picture of a training facility in shambles where the college could not identify who its managers were or if they were “fit and proper” people and where recruits graduated with serious literacy and numeracy deficiencies.
Sources with knowledge of the college’s situation told the NT Independent the NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services executive team has taken no action to address the issues identified in the audit report in more than three years.
The poor state of the college resulted in the Advanced Diploma of Police Investigations program being pulled in 2019 by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) – the body that regulates college training across the country.
The auditors reviewed the college’s police cadet program’s training and assessment strategy as part of the audit and determined that it was “not compliant” with national standards.
“[A staff member] explained that while he considered there were sufficient trainers for the advanced diploma, there were 110 students enrolled in the diploma and these were serviced by one full-time and one part-time trainer,” the report stated.
“This had resulted in a backlog of assessments. Further to this, it was reported that when Operational Safety had insufficient staff numbers, they would increase the staff:student ratio.”
The audit also found that new police and fire recruits were certified despite not passing basic literacy and numeracy tests.
“[Police] and [fire] had no and limited input respectively into selection of new recruits which sometimes meant students were found to have significant LLN [language, literacy and numeracy] issues during/after induction,” the report stated.
In other shocking instances, the college could not explain why it had passed some cadets.
“Without accompanying evidence, [the college] is unable to confirm that certification should be issued,” the report stated.
The report also highlighted that it was “not possible to determine who was qualified to deliver specific qualifications” for new police recruits and that the college was unable “to provide evidence that it has met Principles of Assessment and Rules of Evidence”.
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National standards require that a registered training facility provide training and assessment by qualified individuals.
The audit found an Operational Safety and Tactics Training instructor, who was also a firearms instructor, did “not appear to hold [a diploma of policing] or an equivalent qualification” to train new recruits.
The NT Independent’s sources confirmed that instructor is no longer employed by the college but had been in the role and trained officers “for years”.
The audit also cast doubt over whether the college was providing the proper performance data to the national regulator over numerous years.
“[The college] was unable to provide evidence that QI data was provided by specified deadline,” the report stated.
It recommended the college ensure that quality and performance data is “provided each year as per ASQA’s general direction”.
The police college was also cited for failure to monitor its training and assessment strategies.
“There was no evidence of this being systematically monitored,” the report stated, adding that failings outlined in previous audits “have not been addressed”.
“There is no clear evaluation plan,” the report found. “Information collected to evaluate training is not utilised in a systematic way…”
It also found that surveys from recruits about their experiences were being ignored.
In another shocking finding, the auditors discovered the college could not identify its managers and was therefore non-compliant with the requirement to have effective governance and administration processes in place.
“Staff explained that work is underway to determine who the actual high managerial agents are …” the report stated.
The auditors directed the college to finalise the list of managers and “ensure that fit and proper person declarations are completed”.
They also directed the college to implement a “clear process for ensuring compliance with relevant legislation” because there was no process to review what legislation needed to be adhered to.
Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker and Police Minister Nicole Mansion both refused to answer questions posed by the NT Independent about the college’s serious failings.