15th December 2018
In recent years Victoria has witnessed the appointment of Chief Commissioners of Police that has resulted in the increased politicisation of what must be a truly independent position. Chief Commissioners need to have complete operational authority over the Force if they are to police without fear or favour, malice or ill will, for the benefit of all Victorians.
The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) urges that politics be removed from the appointment process by the only practical means – a Joint Parliamentary Committee. A small committee made up of both major parties and at least one Independent should be able to make appointments on pure merit. Political considerations must be put aside.
If evidence for such a change is required one only has to consider the current formation of a Royal Commission to enquire into actions of the Victoria Police. The persistent and consistent, well documented, failure to investigate serious and legitimate complaints against senior members of Force Command and others also provides evidence of the need for effective appointments.
This essential independence should not be confused with accountability as the Chief Commissioner is accountable to the Government and must report on an annual basis the performance of Vitoria Police for which he or she is personally accountable.
While at absolute arm’s length from Operational matters the Government should be able to set the general philosophical direction of policing in this state. In consultation with the Chief Commissioner bench marks should be established by which performance can be measured.
The CAA urges that the Victoria Police be returned to the strong and independent Force it once was.