The Police Association will face a public hearing into police corruption in Victoria (File).Victoria needs an independent body to investigate allegations of police misconduct because the state’s anti-corruption processes are ineffective, a law firm says.
Robinson Gill Lawyers’ Jeremy King, who works with people alleging police misconduct, on Monday told a parliamentary inquiry the current system was broken.
He said complaints put to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission were often referred back to the police force, and in the end only about nine per cent were substantiated.
“(The) current complaints system simply is not working,” Mr King told MPs.
“The majority of my clients get referred back to Victoria Police, who do an investigation.
“The collective experience of our clients … has been one of uniform dissatisfaction and disempowerment.”
As IBAC’s scope was limited to corruption, Mr King said there should be an independent body set up to deal with all police complaints.
At the very least, he argued there should be greater scrutiny around when complaints are investigated by IBAC and when they get referred back to the force.
“Historically, complaints which legal practitioners consider very serious have been referred back to Victoria Police,” Mr King said.
“If IBAC is going to continue to refer back to Victoria Police …. these complaints should be limited to genuine customer service complaints.”
The Police Association rejected calls for an independent body or a broader remit for IBAC to tackle complaints against officers.
“I’m … unconvinced that the public has lost faith in the current system,” the association’s legal manager Chris Gorissen told the inquiry.
Secretary Wayne Gatt added police work was “inherently susceptible” to misconduct allegations.
“Complaints, at times, are merely lodged … in response to criminal conduct,” he said.