13th December 2018

CAA has long advocated for a detailed inquiry into the Victoria Police.  We have pointed out major deficiencies of leadership, policies, governance and ethics.  Current disclosures have merely confirmed our stance.

The terms of reference of the Royal Commission into the affair involving police informer 3838 are out but they do not go beyond that affair.

However useful that may be it would not be sufficient to address the malaise we detect in the organisation.

A number of the higher echelon have departed, under pressure, and we are hearing of more imminent departures. The 3838 informer scandal has further disclosed a culture identified by the CAA . The government of Victoria has consistently ignored our advice.

A complaint made to the Chief Commissioner of Police misconduct MUST, by law, (The Victoria Police Act s.167) be investigated – by him, or at his direction. That is to say, the truth must diligently be sought as to the truth or falsity of that complaint. Misconduct is defined under the Act as including: “conduct which is likely to bring Victoria Police into disrepute or diminish public confidence in it.”

Yet earlier this year, a complaint of dishonesty against one of those higher echelon (imminently to depart?) was casually set aside by one of the Chief Commissioner’s right hand men, on the purported claim that information could not be released.

No information had been asked for; an investigation was asked for as is mandated, but refused.

The CAA has also lodged two formal complaints with the Chief Commissioner in relation to  allegations concerning the behaviour of three Assistant Commissioners. The first complaint was diverted, as somebody getting excited on a key board and second was dismissed as having no basis in fact. Two of those Commissioners have now taken early retirement.

The Chief Commissioner’s principal adviser appears to have been implicated in the plot to protect a very senior officer, now implicated in the 3838 informer scandal.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius is on the public record as setting out the correct position – he properly asserted that every complaint against police should be he thoroughly investigated with integrity. He was a chief of the relevant internal investigations group, so he could hardly say anything else.

The problem is that Vicpol Command does not comply with legislated requirements and up until this time has done so with impunity or put into practice the very policies it publishes. That is, unlawful, dishonest; that is hypocritical; that is corrupt; that is symptomatic of conduct the High Court disapproved of in the 3838 affair.

The malaise is deep-rooted; the issue of how particular complaints were mishandled by Mr. Ashton’s office is fully documented, but it was a “red flag” indicating great dangers ahead that are now manifesting.

Time for the CAA to be heeded – a wider inquiry into Vicpol is well overdue.