Victorian corruption watchdog receives 4,300 allegations against police

Victoria’s independent anti-corruption body considered more than 4,300 allegations and almost 2000 complaints against Victoria Police last year.

Deputy IBAC Commissioner Stephen Farrow: significant work investigating police misconduct

IBAC’s latest annual snapshot of its police oversight role, released on April 17, provides an overview of police complaints it received in the 2023 calendar year, as well as information on monitoring, investigations, reviews, recommendations, compliance audits and prevention initiatives.

Fifty-eight per cent of all complaints received by IBAC in 2023 related police, Deputy Commissioner Stephen Farrow said.

“This snapshot provides a valuable insight into the vital role IBAC plays in Victoria’s police oversight system and quantifies the significant work involved in overseeing and investigating police misconduct,” he said.

The report identifies a rising number of complaints and notifications about police misconduct, IBAC says.

It shows IBAC assessed a total of 4317 allegations about Victoria Police and 1914 complaints.

The commission also received 1709 mandatory notifications from Victoria Police, a 13 per cent increase from 2022.

There were also 316 serious incident notifications, which includes any police contact that results in death or serious injury, a 19 per cent increase from 2022.

IBAC began 23 and finalised 15 preliminary inquiries and investigations in 2023.

These included assessing ‘reach back’ by a former police officer who allegedly used their relationship with current police personnel for favours, information or access. 

IBAC’s police oversight role includes investigations of serious or systemic corruption or misconduct; reviews of misconduct investigations undertaken by Victoria Police; recommendations for significant changes to policy and practice; and overseeing police compliance with a range of legislation.

Its extensive list of current police misconduct risks include: excessive use of force, misuse of position to pursue a sexual relationship, police perpetrated family violence, misusing police powers against an alleged offender, racial profiling, relationships with criminal networks, drug trafficking and improper strip searches.

Other risks include bullying and harassment of colleagues, bribery, theft of property and moonlighting in prohibited industries.

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