Our investigative powers

We have powers to effectively investigate allegations of public sector corruption and police misconduct, including being able to:

  • compel the production of documents and objects
  • enter and search premises
  • seize documents and objects
  • use surveillance devices
  • intercept telecommunications
  • hold private and public examinations
  • require people to give evidence at an examination.

These powers are limited during a preliminary inquiry. 

Responsible use of powers

The investigative techniques we use will depend on:

  • the nature of the allegation
  • whether there are witnesses
  • when the alleged conduct occurred
  • the seriousness of the conduct.

To ensure we use these powers appropriately, we must apply to the Supreme Court or other courts and tribunals before exercising some powers. A Public Interest Monitor reviews and makes submissions on our applications for surveillance device warrants and telecommunications interception warrants. 

We also report regularly to various state and Commonwealth bodies on the use of our powers.

‘Own motion’ investigation

Complaints from individuals and notification from public sector bodies about corrupt conduct or police personnel misconduct are one of the main ways IBAC is advised of corruption and misconduct. However, matters are also brought to IBAC’s attention in other ways. In these cases, IBAC may decide to investigate on its own motion, these investigations are referred to as ‘own motion’ investigations. IBAC can start an ‘own motion’ investigation at any time, in relation to any matter that falls within its jurisdiction.