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Simply having an understanding of the procedures involved in the discipline process can help alleviate some of this stress. Interaction with the discipline system is a normal part of the job and members should be aware of their obligations under the Police Administration Act (the Act) in disciplinary matters and the steps that are normally usually followed in the process.

Section 79 of the Act provides that if the Commissioner or a prescribed member believe, on reasonable grounds, that a member has committed a breach of discipline they can serve a notice on that member alleging the breach.

The member has seven days upon receipt of the notice to respond in writing. The content of that response will depend much on the nature of the allegation, the evidence provided in support of the allegation and the potential penalty that may apply if a breach is made out. The member may choose to admit all, part or none of the charges alleged. They may even choose not to comment on the charges either way, particularly if there are potential criminal charges associated with the purported breach of discipline. It is essential that any member served with a section 79 notice obtain advice from the Association as to what response should me made, particularly if the conduct complained of may amount to criminal conduct.