Commissioners Statement In Relation Wade Burns

In recent days, public statements have been made concerning events involving Inspector Wade Burns and historic reports of misconduct committed by him in 2017.

These statements have contained some factual inaccuracies. After careful consideration I am satisfied this is a matter of public interest and I am obliged to correct the public record.

The Honourable Frank Pangallo MLC stated in the Legislative Council on 18 June 2024 that ” Inspector Burns was appointed to head Project Equitas, a program designed to combat sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in SA Police, following the disturbing findings of a review by the Equal Opportunity Commissioner.”

Inspector Burns never held a position within Project Equitas.

Mr Pangallo also stated “Mr Burns appealed his demotion where the Police Commissioner’s objections on integrity grounds were overruled, and he was ordered to promote Mr Burns to the rank of inspector.”

Inspector Burns did not institute an appeal on grounds of his demotion. In 2020, (then) Senior Sergeant Burns lodged a Police Review Tribunal appeal, challenging a decision by a SAPOL Selection Advisory Committee not to promote him to the rank of Inspector. He was successful in his appeal and the tribunal ordered SAPOL to promote him to the rank of Inspector.

It was reported in The Advertiser on 20 June 2024 that Inspector Burns said in a memo to Police Association of South Australia members on 19 June 2024 that the SAPOL investigation into his 2017 misconduct “was not, nor was it ever, a criminal matter.”

I can confirm that, upon receipt of the relevant allegations in 2017, SAPOL’s Internal Investigation Section did commence a criminal investigation. Following the criminal investigation, after considering all relevant factors including, importantly, the wishes of the alleged victim, the matter was not referred for prosecution. Subsequently, a misconduct investigation was undertaken.

There is no suggestion that Inspector Burns has dishonestly made the statement reported by The Advertiser on 20 June 2024. Inspector Burns may not be aware that a criminal investigation was commenced.

No further comment will be made.

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