Police Complaints Advice Clinic

UPDATE: Clinic currently not taking clients

 

The Police Accountability Clinic assists people across Victoria in making complaints against Victoria Police and Protective Service Officers.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

We are currently experiencing a very high caseload and our clinic has reached its full capacity.

Unfortunately, we cannot take any new clients at this point.

For people we cannot assist individually, we have created resources to help you make a complaint yourself.

Please see these links for information, resources and guidance to make a complaint.

 


 

The Clinic is run by the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre in partnership with the Melbourne University Law Public Interest Law Program.

What you can do after an incident with police:

 

Template letters

Sample-letter-to-PSC (WORD document)  A sample letter to submit a complaint about police to the Professional Standards Command (PSC) in Victoria.

FOI request letter – VicPolice (WORD document) A sample Freedom of Information Request letter to send to Victoria Police.

FOI request letter – PTV  (WORD document)  Freedom of Information Request letter to send to Public Transport Victoria

Report on first year of operation

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 Key findings:

1. Of the 51 allegations filed through the clinic as complaints with Victoria Police during 2015, only 1 was substantiated. This is a 2% substantiation rate.

2. The most frequent allegation made was excessive force.

3. Complainants came to the clinic from around the State with the highest concentration in the inner-west.

4. There continue to be allegations of racially biased policing despite Victoria Police’s zero
tolerance towards racial profiling.

5. There is a far higher demand for our service than we can provide.

We were able to provide ongoing casework for 67 people. 55 people seeking criminal defence work for matters linked to their police complaint were turned away. 112 people seeking ongoing casework assistance were turned away

The full report with case studies is available here (PDF).

About the Clinic

This clinic is made possible by a partnership with the Melbourne University Law School’s Public Interest Law Clinic in which students support lawyers in public interest law organisations and directly assist in the delivery of legal services to clients.

It aims to give students practical legal experience and provide the community with much needed additional resources for public interest law causes, particularly the provision of legal advice and assistance to disadvantaged clients.

The Police Complaints Advice Clinic will:

1)      Provide an accessible, high-quality legal advice, referral and support service for Victorians alleging human rights abuses or mistreatment by police or PSO’s;

2)      Meet the diverse and complex needs (legal, emotional, systemic and therapeutic) of clients with a focus upon effective remedies, police accountability and human rights outcomes;

3)      Ensure a best practice clinical legal education model for students which promotes a principled and professional, public interest law practice;

4)      Provide an experiential and collaborative learning environment for students with experienced clinical supervision, support and assessment;

5)      Collate and analyze statewide client data, utilise case studies, client stories and key cases for strategic systemic advocacy and law reform for police accountability and human rights.

 

See: From the Classroom to the Clinic.

Media on police internal complaint handling

Corruption watchdog flames Victoria Police over internal investigations, Cameron Houston & Chris Vedelago, The Age,

“Victoria Police officers involved in deaths or serious injuries to the public are not properly investigated by the force due to “clear conflicts of interest” and most cases failed to include evidence from independent witnesses, a damning report has found….”

IBAC ‘concerned’ with Victoria Police handling of serious incidents, Anthony Dowsley, Herald Sun,

“THE state’s anti-corruption watchdog has identified weaknesses in how Victoria Police handles incidents involving its officers that result in deaths or serious injuries to the public….”

Victoria Police ‘deficiencies’ found in IBAC report on internal reviews, Zalika Rizmal and Charlotte King, ABC News, March 27, 2018

“Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog says there are “concerning deficiencies” in the way Victoria Police reviews serious incidents, including those that kill or injure members of the public….”

Corruption watchdog to probe disgraced integrity cop’s actions on racism complaints, Tammy Mills & Cameron Houston, The Age,

“Victoria’s corruption watchdog has widened its investigation into online trolling by disgraced assistant commissioner Brett Guerin to review the former police ethics boss’ actions on racism complaints….

Victoria’s corruption watchdog recommends major changes to the way complaints are handled against officers, Hamish Fitzsimmons, ABC Lateline, 15 September, 2016

VIDEO and Transcript:  Twenty years ago, police turned up at Corinna Horvath’s home over an unregistered car. They kicked in her door and she was beaten up.

For information about how you can support this clinic please see:

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