Australian Federal Police Annual Report 2016–17
This chapter outlines key matters arising from the Australian Federal
Police Annual Report 2016–17, including compliance with legislative
requirements, performance against key performance indicators (KPIs) and issues
discussed at the public hearing on 22 February 2019.
About the AFP
The AFP is the Australian government's primary policing agency. Section
8 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the AFP Act) outlines the
functions of the AFP, including:
the provision of police services in relation to laws of the
Commonwealth, the property of the Commonwealth (including Commonwealth places),
and the safeguarding of Commonwealth interests;
the provision of policing in the Australian Capital Territory
(ACT) and the Jervis Bay Territory;
protective and custodial functions as directed by the Minister;
the provision of police services and police support services to
co-operate with an Australian or foreign law enforcement agency, intelligence
or security agency, or government regulatory agency; and
the provision of police services and police support services in
relation to establishing, developing and monitoring peace, stability and
security in foreign countries.
The AFP also performs functions under the Witness Protection Act 1994
and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Annual report compliance
The AFP is required to prepare an annual report under section 67 of the
The annual report
prepared by the Commissioner and given to the Minister under section 46 of the Public
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 for a period must
include particulars of:
- the AFP
conduct issues that were dealt with under Part V [Professional
standards and AFP conduct and practices issues] of this Act during that
- the action
that was taken, during that period, in relation to AFP conduct issues that were
dealt with under Division 3 of Part V [dealing
with AFP conduct or practices issues] of
As a Commonwealth entity, the AFP must comply with the Public
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), which
requires Commonwealth entities to provide an annual report to the entity's
responsible minister for presentation to the Parliament on the entity's
activity during the reporting period,
and with the PGPA Rule 2014.
Under the PGPA Act, a Commonwealth entity is also required to prepare
annual performance statements and include a copy of these statements in its annual
report that is tabled in the Parliament.
The AFP's annual performance overview is included at chapter 3 of the
Based on the committee's assessment of the AFP's Annual Report 2016–17, these
requirements have been fulfilled.
In addition to the agency's 2016–17 report on its performance, the
report also includes the following annual reports on:
authorities for assumed identities pursuant to section 15LD(1) of
the Crimes Act 1914;
the National Witness Protection Program pursuant to section 30(2)
of the Witness Protection Act 1994; and
unexplained wealth investigations and proceedings pursuant to
section 179U of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Key performance features in 2016–17
In his introduction to the annual report, the AFP Commissioner, Mr
Andrew Colvin APM OAM, highlighted that the AFP now 'must deal not only with
many traditional crime types that have evolved but also with an increasingly
broad range of new and complex crime types',
requiring it to evolve and adapt to a changing operating environment.
The Commissioner noted that the AFP had delivered a range of services
and achieved a number of significant outcomes over the reporting period, within
one per cent of its budget, and with a net decrease in staffing
levels over the period. Highlights included:
preventing significant harm to the community by disrupting
terrorist activity, dismantling serious and organised crime groups, making
substantial drug seizures and tackling online child exploitation;
working to minimise the direct financial incentives for crime by
recovering criminal proceeds and detecting and disrupting fraud and corruption;
actively contributing to the safety and security of our people,
the community and key stakeholders by continued hardening of key infrastructure
and by providing protection and policing services in key locations;
supporting the development of partners’ capabilities and their
delivery of policing outcomes through training, capacity-building and direct
leading Australia’s international policing engagement,
facilitating liaison with and between partners, delivering operational outcomes
and sharing learning to improve outcomes.
The annual report notes the following results arising from its analysis
of its performance over 2016–17:
high levels of successful stakeholder engagement with both
industry and with international partners, and increasing confidence and
awareness of the AFP by the public;
increased run times for cases to prosecution;
decreasing return on investment for finalised investigations;
static levels of asset confiscation (influenced by complex
litigation cases and static resourcing) but continued demand both domestically
record levels of drugs seized and also record individual drug
steady increase in counter-terrorism activity, which potentially
impacts resourcing of other crime categories.
Organisational structure and
On 22 August 2016, Mr Colvin released the Cultural Change: Gender
Diversity and Inclusion in the Australian Federal Police report (Culture
Change report). The release of the report followed a review by the former Sex
Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO, and was based on
qualitative and quantitative data, namely:
Data from a Survey
instrument, focus groups, one on one interviews with individual AFP staff,
review of academic literature and the AFP’s own policies and statistics, as
well as advice from senior leaders.
In the foreword of the report, Ms Broderick stated she was 'not
surprised by what has been found' with respect to 'the elements of culture that
require strengthening', but noted that 'urgent action' was required in respect
of sexual harassment and bullying.
The following extract from the report illustrates the prevalence of
harassment and bullying in the AFP:
Survey results show that 46% of women and 20% of men report that they have been
sexually harassed in the workplace in the last five years. These percentages
are almost double the national average. In relation to bullying, 62% of men and
66% of women reported that they have been bullied in the workplace in the last
The Cultural Change report contained twenty-four recommendations, eight of
which had been finalised at 25 August 2017.
In the previous reporting period, 2015–16, a new organisational structure
came into effect in the AFP, to 'focus on aligning capabilities with
operational needs, both now and into the future'. In the Commissioner's
review of 2016–17, Mr Colvin noted that the:
Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Australian Federal Police report, delivered by Elizabeth Broderick in August
2016, highlighted that the AFP must change to provide a workplace reflective of
the norms and expectations of the community and our people. The commitment to
this reform is evident across the agency.
Further changes to the organisational structure were made during 2016–17:
a new function was created titled Reform, Culture and Standards, incorporating
the Professional Standards branch, in response to the Cultural Change report;
a new Enterprise Transformation Office was established within the
Chief of Staff function to implement the findings of the independent Functional
and Efficiency Review of the AFP, conducted from September to November 2016.
The Reform, Culture and Standards business area was established with
three teams: Safe Place, Reform Initiatives and Workforce Engagement. The
annual report states that these areas provide a response to sexual harassment
and bullying in the workplace; coordination of implementation of the recommendations
of the Cultural Change report; and innovatively engage and influence the
The AFP's Operations function provides a law enforcement investigative
response to illicit drugs, people-smuggling, victim-based crime, cybercrime, financial
crime and corruption, as well as child protection assessments, international
operations and counter-terrorism. The annual report identifies a number of key
operational outcomes in 2016-17, including the:
progression of 286 cases to court, with a conviction rate of 95
per cent; and
seizure of over 9.9 tonnes of illicit drugs , which was a 41 per
cent increase in the amount (7 tonnes) seized by Crime Operations in 2015–16.
The annual report notes that on 1 July 2016 the AFP received an
additional $20.4 million over four years in response to recommendations arising
from the Australian Government's Cyber Security Strategy. This initiative, the
AFP states, assisted in the appointment of dedicated cybercrime liaison
officers in London and Washington DC.
More information about these liaison officers was provided to the
committee by the AFP at the hearing on 22 February 2019:
liaison officers in Washington and London have probably gone past liaison, if
you like. They're actually embedded with our counterparts overseas. That has
been invaluable. Not only do we get notification of real-time threats and
intelligence exchange in a real-time process but...it's upskilling our people.
The people we currently have in those two locations are world's best in relation
to investigations of cybercrime, and they'll come back when their term is up
and be able to pass those skills on to our people here.
The 2016–17 reporting period saw the end of the Australian police
participation in the United Nationals Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus after more
than 53 years service.
Australian police peacekeepers have not been active in any other country, aside
from one officer in Liberia whose three year term has recently been completed.
This decision, the Commissioner told the hearing, is a "foreign policy
judgement" made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The AFP stated that there were still AFP officers active in the Solomon Islands
and Papua New Guinea but these operations were based on bilateral arrangements.
The Capability group comprises the AFP's technical and specialist
functions, including professional development; ICT capabilities to support
operational and other AFP activities; forensics and intelligence; and covert
and specialist response groups.
A key development in 2016–17 was the publication of Policing for a
Safer Australia: Strategy for Future Capacity, which was published in March
In the Commissioner's foreword to the paper, he noted that it, and the Future
Directions Strategic Context Paper that preceded it, 'are different in that
it is the first time the AFP has taken such a comprehensive look at itself, its
environment and its future'.
the world in which the AFP will have to operate – a world affected by globalisation,
changing technologies, population growth, migration, international conflict,
failures of governance, violent extremism, climate change and a growing demand
The paper identifies two complex challenges that the AFP will face in
future: globalisation and disruption. In order to realise its strategy for
future capability, the AFP stated that it 'will develop and implement a
capability framework comprising four strategic capabilities: policing, law
enforcement, people and asset protection (incorporating critical
infrastructure), and international engagement'.
In order to develop the four capabilities of policing, law enforcement,
people and asset protection and international engagement for the future, the
AFP will pursue a raft of activities, with particular focus on:
intelligence-informed targeting and processes;
transnational serious and organised crime;
national and international leadership and coordination;
technical and niche proficiencies;
the AFP as a knowledge leader;
the AFP's future workforce; and
The role of the Capacity group is to ensure that 'the AFP has the
financial and human resources to respond to current and emerging requirements
and is particularly focused on creating an agile, diverse and inclusive
A significant initiative during the 2016–17 period was the development
of a Mental Health Framework and Action Plan, which the AFP developed in
partnership with Phoenix Australia, the National Centre for Excellence in
Post-Traumatic Mental Health, to develop the framework and action plan. The
annual report notes that commencement of implementation of the plan would be in
the second half of 2017.
Contribution to law reform and parliamentary inquiries
The AFP has continued its engagement with various parliamentary
committees. The AFP lists the following contributions in its annual report:
Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
inquiry into remotely piloted aircraft systems, unmanned aerial systems and
Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for
Law Enforcement Integrity inquiry into the integrity of Australia’s border
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry
into suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel;
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement inquiry into
Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into
possible multiple voting in the seat of Herbert;
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement examination of
the AFP’s 2015–16 annual report;
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement inquiry into
Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into the
inconsistencies and inadequacies of current criminal, civil and administrative
penalties for corporate and financial misconduct or white-collar crime;
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
inquiry into the provisions of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers,
Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2017;
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
inquiry into the provisions of the Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors
Online) Bill 2017;
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
inquiry into the provisions of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (International
Crime Cooperation and Other Measures Bill) 2016;
Senate Standing Committee of Privileges inquiry into
parliamentary privilege and the use of intrusive powers;
Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into and
report on all aspects of the conduct of the 2016 Federal Election and matters
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial
Services inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security
inquiry into and report on the Criminal Code Amendment (High Risk Terrorist
Offenders) Bill 2016; and
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security review
of the performance of the Australian Federal Police of its functions under Part
5.3 of the Criminal Code.
Reporting against KPIs
The AFP has two outcomes: Outcome 1 comprising Program 1.1 (Federal
Policing and National Security) and Program 1.2 (International Police
Assistance); and Outcome 2, comprising Program 2.1 (ACT Community Policing).
There are nine key performance indicators (KPIs) defined for Program 1.1 and
two KPIs defined for Program 1.2. Each KPI is addressed in detail in chapter 3
of the annual report.
This section considers the AFP's performance outcomes against the AFP's
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Programs 1.1 and 1.2. It examines the
measurement tools used to inform the KPIs and to track performance over time.
The AFP's performance under Outcome 2 (ACT Policing) is published in a
separate annual report and is not considered here.
The AFP examined its
performance against each KPI by analysing the result and discussing relevant
The AFP met nine of
11 KPIs for the 2016–17 financial year, the same result as 2015–16. The AFP
noted that KPIs 5 and 8 were not met.
This was consistent with the results for KPIs 5 and 8 in the 2015–16 reporting
The annual report notes
that the AFP achieved a conviction rate of 95% for cases before court,
exceeding the 90% threshold.
At the public hearing, the committee questioned whether this high threshold
even discouraged the AFP from prosecuting cases on occasion. Mr Colvin stated that
the Commonwealth DPP 'has a big role' in deciding which prosecutions proceed. In
relation to the AFP's role in laying the charges and preparing briefs of
evidence, he stated '[w]e are not conservative in the way that we go about
deciding who and went (sic) to charge somebody'.
Although the AFP met
three of the four response times for KPI 5 (priority levels 2, 3 and 4), it did
not meet the 5-minute priority 1 target: the result was two per cent below
target. However, it was noted that this result was an improvement on the
previous reporting period and was attributable 'to amending dispatch protocols
and aligning response priorities to the AFP's regulated Counter Terrorist First
The annual report
notes that factors that contributed to the failure to meet the priority 1
criterion for KPI 5 'include the continued growth in airport passenger
movements, the commissioning of additional terminals, the wide physical spread
of terminals within airports and the competing priorities of uniform policing
This explanation was also cited in the previous annual reports.
In respect of KPI 8,
the annual report states:
Substantial restraint figures for the
2014–15 financial year have translated into an increased commitment of
resources to complex proceeds of crime matters in lengthy court processes. This
continues to impact on [the capacity of the Criminal Assets Confiscation
Taskforce] to pursue new restraint action.
This explanation was
also cited in the previous annual report in respect of the failure to meet this
The AFP informed the
committee on notice that the parameters for both KPIs 5 and 8 have since been
reviewed and amended to emulate more realistic expectations and accurate
reflections of the AFP's work.
The AFP met its nine
other targets. However, some KPIs measured a decline compared with the previous
KPI 1: the results of the overall satisfaction level for
all program areas across the AFP (from the AFP Business Satisfaction Survey)
indicated a one percentage point decline from the previous reporting period to
89 per cent. Further,
the Federal Policing and National Security program achieved a
satisfaction result of 90 per cent, two percentage points lower than 2015–16.
No analysis was provided as to the reason for the
decreases in results when compared to the previous reporting period.
KPI 6: in August 2016, at an event in a Melbourne hotel,
the Australian Prime Minister was confronted on stage by a protester for a
short period of time while giving a speech.
In the previous reporting period there were no avoidable incidents,
but one was recorded in 2014–15.
KPI 10: there was a notable decline in the satisfaction
result for the International Police Assistance program compared with the
previous reporting period (in 2016–17, the result was 88 per cent, down from 95
per cent). Respondents gave feedback:
improvement in interactions could be made with more frequent contact and that
better outcomes might be achieved through a number of different mechanisms,
including improving timeliness, follow-up and resourcing.
In its analysis of the results against its KPIs, which was more
extensive than its analysis in the previous reporting period, the AFP noted that it
'maintained its performance position' in its dynamic operational environment
'whilst continuing to focus on delivering efficiencies and operating within 1
per cent of budget and with a net decrease of 1.8 per cent in staff numbers during
The AFP acknowledged
both the positive and negative interpretations of its performance results for
the reporting period, and consequently:
its performance framework for 2017–18, introducing measurement of disruption,
prevention and broader return on investment. Performance will also be assessed
in terms of the key domains of AFP activity (federal, international, protection
and community). This will assist in providing a more comprehensive picture of
performance and assessment of value in policing for a safer Australia, both
domestically and abroad.
Staffing and financial management
On 30 June 2017, the AFP had 6540 staff, including 3383 sworn police,
2441 professional staff and 716 protective service officers. This is 117
fewer than at the same time in 2016. At the public hearing, the Commissioner
attributed this reduction to the AFP's ability to recruit against attrition,
and 'ons and offs according to measures or programs [the AFP] are running'.
The AFP continued to experience low attrition rates in 2016–17. Overall, the
attrition rate at 30 June 2017 was 2.99 per cent, an increase of 0.38
percentage points from 2015–16.
Of the 6500 members of staff at the AFP, the majority of them have had
six or more years of service.
The Commissioner described this as a 'positive challenge':
I have a very experienced workforce. But an ageing workforce is a challenge for
a range of reasons in terms of people's planned retirement and our ability to
constantly refresh our workforce.
Thirty six per cent of AFP staff were female, one percentage point
higher than at 30 June 2016.
The Commissioner told the committee that part of the work undertaken by the AFP
during the 2016–17 reporting period was to examine the type of workforce
required in the future:
We have started to
bring our average recruit age back down to probably around 25 [from 30]...We are
looking for a greater diversity mix in our recruits–not just gender but also
background, ethnicity, education...
In 2016–17, the AFP recorded a surplus for the year of $4 million. The
report notes that:
break-even result was achieved through the prioritisation of constrained resources
to meet a high level of demand in an increasingly complex and elevated
terrorist and criminal threat environment.
The departmental operating income for 2016–17 was $1304 million
$1021 million in government appropriation ($1006 million in
$163 million from the ACT government for policing services
($161 million in 2015–16); and
$120 million in other revenue ($131 million in 2015–16).
The AFP received an additional $30 million ($30 million in 2015–16) in
government appropriation for departmental capital expenditure and $90 million
($42 million in 2015–16) in equity injections. The AFP also administered
$12 million in expenses on behalf of the Commonwealth government during
2015–16 (a reduction of $2 million compared with 2015–16).
The committee commends the AFP for its ongoing work to develop capacity
and capability within the organisation, and in particular, for the development
of plans to address bullying and harassment, gender imbalance, and mental
health and well-being in the AFP workforce.
The committee congratulates the AFP on its strong overall performance
meeting its KPIs and thanks it for its constructive engagement with the
The committee welcomes the inclusion of analysis of the reasons for varying
performance against KPIs, which had been recommended by the committee in its
report on the AFP Annual Report 2015–16.
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