First public hearings on police complaints in decades now underway.

Parliment-House

Victoria’s police complaint system under rare public scrutiny

Updated 22 February 2018

 

The Flemington Kensington Legal Centre and the Police Accountability Project will be presenting at the hearings  on at 11 am Monday 26th February.

The Victorian Parliament’s IBAC Committee Public Hearings as part of it’s historic Inquiry into the external oversight of police corruption and misconduct in Victoria.

These public hearings represent the first time parliament has looked seriously at this critical aspect of police accountability for 40 years and have been welcomed by community, legal and human rights groups.

The public hearings will be held at the Legislative Council Committee Room, Parliament House.

Monday 26 February 2018

Legislative Council Committee Room, Parliament House

Time Witness
9.00 am Monash University
Associate Professor Leanne Weber and Professor Jude McCulloch
School of Social Sciences
9.45 am Victoria Legal Aid
Tim Marsh, Chief Counsel, VLA chambers
11.00 am Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre
Anthony Kelly, Executive Officer
Charandev Singh
Tamar Hopkins
11.45 am Law Institute of Victoria
Merys Williams
Member, Human Rights Committee
12.30 pm Centre for Multicultural Youth
Carmel Guerra, CEO

Youthlaw
Ariel Couchman, Director

2.00 pm Victoria Police
Representatives, Professional Standards Command
3.05 pm Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services
Wayne Muir, CEO
Anna Lyons, Principal Solicitor (Acting) – Civil Law
Kate Browne, Lawyer – Civil Law

 

Follow #VicpolWatch for updates and commentary on Twitter.

A full list of 49 written submissions to the Inquiry can be found here.  Almost 90 per cent of publicly available submissions — including those from Victorian Legal Aid, Youthlaw and various community legal services, have called for a robust independent complaint investigative system.

For further information on the hearings please contact the IBAC Committee Secretariat on 03 8682 2815 or ibacc@parliament.vic.gov.au

Parliament has a particular responsibility to ensure the effective and impartial investigation of complaints against police.

This inquiry, which is due to report by 30 June 2018 is in response to concerns raised by the community and organisations such as ourselves over many years and we thank the IBAC Committee for taking on this important task.

Terms of Reference are set out here:  https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/ibacc/inquiries/inquiry/922

The Inquiry also includes the oversight of  Protected Services Officers (PSOs).

The Police Accountability Project believes that ‘oversight’ is not enough and has been calling for a fully independent, investigative model for some time now.

Human rights standards and community expectations demand that investigations of complaints against police be conducted by a body which meets these five benchmarks:

1. Independent of the Police—hierarchically, practically, culturally and politically;
2. Capable of conducting an adequate investigation;
3. Prompt
4. Open to public scrutiny; and
5. Victim-centred, and enables the victim to participate in the investigation

Information and resources on this model can be found here.

Resources:

Policy Briefing Paper 2017 covershot

This new, updated and extended policy briefing paper addresses the persistent and reoccurring issues which have plagued Victoria’s system of police oversight. It draws upon the direct experience of victims, solicitors from community legal centres and law firms and upon decades of international research and developing best practice approaches.

See also:

Australia grilled at UN over Horvath Case

Inflation Nightclub shooting highlights need for independent investigations

Why the NSW LECC is no model for Victoria

 

Media:

Victoria Police has ‘conflict of interest’ when investigating misconduct, police assaults, inquiry told,  James Oaten, ABC News, Monday 19th February 2018

“Victoria Police is often failing to properly investigate allegations of police misconduct or assault, proving the need for an independent investigative body, a Melbourne law firm has told a parliamentary inquiry…

Law firm tells clients don’t bother complaining about Victoria Police to watchdog, Tammy Mills, The Age,

“A Melbourne law firm is advising its clients not to make a complaint about Victoria Police to the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. One reason, lawyer Jeremy King told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday, is because more than 90 per cent of complaints made to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission were handed back to police to investigate….

Calls for more scrutiny of Victoria’s cops, AAP, Monday 19th 2018

 “Victoria needs an independent body to investigate allegations of police misconduct because the state’s anti-corruption processes are ineffective, a law firm says.

Victorian police shouldn’t investigate themselves say lawyers, Rebecca David, Herald Sun – Leader,

“The inquiry has received more than 40 responses, and almost 90 per cent of publicly available submissions — including those from Victorian Legal Aid, Youthlaw and various community legal services — said the present system wasn’t good enough…

Call for submissions during public probe into police complaints system  Rebecca David, Herald Sun, 9 July 2017.

“CONCERNS about the “woefully inadequate” police complaints system have prompted a public inquiry into investigations of police corruption and misconduct….

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