Comptroller Directions (Warrants) 2015

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COMPTROLLER DIRECTIONS (WARRANTS) 2015
SUBSECTION 183UC OF THE CUSTOMS ACT 1901 (C.I.) and
subsection 183UC of the Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I)
 
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
 
I, ROMAN QUAEDVLIEG, Comptroller of the Indian Ocean Territories Customs Service, under section 183UC of the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) and subsection 183UC of the Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.), give the following directions as to:
 
§  the manner in which the powers relating to warrants in Division 1 of Part XII of the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) and Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.) may be exercised;
 
§  the officers of Customs who are entitled to exercise those powers in relation to warrants; and
 
§  the manner and frequency of reporting required concerning the exercise of those powers relating to warrants.
 
 
1. Preamble
 
1.1         These Comptroller Directions regarding warrants (the Directions) outline the policy of the Indian Ocean Territories Customs Service in relation to the application for, and execution of search and seizure warrants granted respectively under Subdivisions C, D and DA of Division 1 of Part XII of the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) and Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.).
 
1.2         In the case of a conflict between the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) or Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.) and the Directions, the relevant provisions within the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) or Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.) shall apply.
 
1.3         The terms used herein shall have the same meaning as in the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) or Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.).
 
1.4         The term ‘Officer in Charge’ (OIC) refers to the highest ranking officer in a regional Branch on duty at the time e.g. EL2/Director of the regional Investigations Division office.
 
1.5         The term ‘Case Manager’ refers to the supervising officer of the case relevant to a particular warrant, e.g. CL4/EL1 Manager.
 
1.6         The term ‘Case Officer’ refers to the investigating officer of the case relevant to a particular warrant, e.g. CL3/APS6 Supervisor.
 
 
 
2.  Directions regarding warrants
 
2.1         Applying for a search warrant
A search warrant may only be applied for by an officer of Customs who:
 
a)     has obtained Certificate IV in Government (Investigations); and
 
b)     occupies a position in the Investigations Division as an investigator.
 
2.2         Applying for a seizure warrant or seizure of goods in transit warrant
 
A seizure warrant or seizure of goods in transit warrant may only be applied for by an officer of Customs who:
 
a)    has obtained Certificate IV in Government (Investigations) and occupies a position in the Investigations Division as an investigator.
 
b)    is aware of warrant application procedures; or
 
2.3         Vetting of Investigations Division applications

Where possible, prior to applying to a judicial officer for a warrant, the warrant application should be vetted by the Case Manager or OIC. Legal Services Branch or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) may be consulted as appropriate.
 
2.4         Warrant application

The warrant application should be made in the jurisdiction of the State of Western Australia.
 
Officers must comply with any requirement placed on them in the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) or Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.) when applying for warrants.  
 
2.5         Deficiencies in warrant applications

If a judicial officer rejects a warrant application because of a substantive deficiency, i.e. something more significant than an administrative error, a further application must not be made without the prior permission of the OIC of the regional Branch.
 
2.6         Recording of decisions regarding the application for and execution of a warrant
 
All decisions and considerations regarding the decision to apply for and execute a warrant must be recorded on the relevant case file, and for Investigations Division these records must also be kept in the case management system.
 
2.7         Warrants to be executed only when in the interest of Department

Investigations Division (all warrants):
Prior to warrant execution, the OIC of the regional Investigations Division office must confirm that the proposed search warrant is necessary and in accordance with the interests and functions of the Department. This is done through the approval of the Pre Warrant Report (see paragraph 3.2).
 
Other Divisions (seizure warrants and seizure of goods in transit warrants):
Prior to warrant execution, the OIC of the regional Branch must confirm that the proposed seizure warrant is necessary and in accordance with the interests and functions of the Department. This is done by providing written approval to the officer applying for the seizure warrant.
 
2.8         The OIC will ensure that the SES1/National Manager, Investigations Division or the Regional Commander is briefed prior to the execution of a warrant relating to a potentially sensitive matter.
 
2.9         Officers authorised to execute warrants

Search
An executing officer or person assisting must comply with all of the conditions of the warrant.
A search warrant may only be executed by an officer of Customs who:
a)        has obtained Certificate IV in Government (Investigations); and
b)        occupies a position in the Investigations Division as an investigator.
           
Seizure
A seizure warrant or seizure of goods in transit warrant may only be executed by an officer of Customs who:
a)        is involved in the examination of cargo or goods; or       
b)        has obtained Certificate IV in Government (Investigations) and occupies a position in the Investigations Division as an investigator.
 
2.10      Authorisation for persons assisting with warrants

Pursuant to section 183UA of the Customs Act 1901 (C.I.) and Customs Act 1901 (C.K.I.), a ‘person assisting’ in the execution of a search or seizure warrant must either be an ‘authorised person’ (as defined in subsection 183UA(1)) or be authorised by the Comptroller of the Indian Ocean Territories Customs Service (or his delegate).
 
2.11      Allegations of Damage
Allegations of damage to property caused by officers during the execution of a warrant must be reported to the OIC and their SES1/National Manager or Regional Commander (for information) as soon as practicable after the warrant is executed.
 
2.12      Regional Branch records
Each OIC of a regional Branch must maintain a formal record of all warrant applications (regardless of outcome), executed warrants, frisk/ordinary searches, Customs Use of Force Reports and allegations of damage. 
 
3.         Directions regarding Investigations Division reporting
 
3.1.1     These requirements apply to search and seizure warrants applied for by Investigations Division officers.

3.1.2     Pre Warrant Report: following approval of a warrant application and prior to the execution of a warrant, a Pre Warrant Report must be completed by the Case Officer. The report details the nature and purpose of the proposed warrant action including a risk assessment, and is to be forwarded to the:
 
a)        OIC;
b)        Regional Commander (for information); and
c)         Strategic Border Command Centre (SBCC) (for information).
 
 
3.1.3     Post Warrant Report: following search warrant execution, a Post Warrant Report must be compiled by the Case Officer and recorded in the case management system. The report details the events and outcome of the warrant. 
 
3.1.4     Use of Force: where use of force was necessary to execute a warrant, full details must be reported to the OIC as soon as practicable after the warrant is executed. A Customs Use of Force Report must also be submitted.
 
4.         Directions regarding reporting in other areas of the Department
 
4.1         Other areas of the Department will follow a similar procedure to ensure consistency and accountability. Other areas of the Department will ensure accurate record keeping.
 
These Directions commence on the day after they are is registered.
 
Dated: 1 July 2015
 
 
 
 
ROMAN QUAEDVLIEG
Comptroller of the Indian Ocean Territories Customs Service

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