26 September 2023

IBAC exposes predatory police

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The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has announced it has uncovered evidence of predatory behaviour within Victoria Police after reviewing allegations.

Deputy Commissioner of IBAC, Kylie Kilgour said the thematic review assessed 27 Victoria Police investigations of alleged predatory behaviour by police officers between 2018 and 2022.

Deputy Commissioner Kilgour said the review found that evidence of predatory behaviour within Victoria Police persisted and many cases went unreported.

She said predatory behaviour was where a police officer misused their position to begin – or attempt to begin – an emotional or sexual relationship with a person they met in the course of their duties.

“It can also relate to the sexual assault, stalking, harassment or grooming of a person,” Deputy Commissioner Kilgour said.

“Despite efforts undertaken by Victoria Police over recent years, our review shows that predatory behaviour continues,” she said.

“We found women experiencing domestic or family violence were targets of predatory behaviour by police officers and more than half of all cases reviewed indicated a pattern of behaviour by the perpetrator against more than one person.”

Deputy Commissioner Kilgour said more than half the cases IBAC reviewed indicated some level of tolerance for inappropriate behaviour or inaction by managers in response to allegations.

She said the review found that most Victoria Police investigations into predatory behaviour took a victim-centred approach, were thorough, made evidence-based findings and included appropriate sanctions that aligned with public expectations.

“However, in some cases IBAC found Victoria Police’s Discipline Advisory Unit (now the Legal Discipline Advisory Unit) provided problematic advice to investigators, including recommending sanctions that were not consistent with investigation findings, Victoria Police standards or community expectations,” Deputy Commissioner Kilgour said.

IBAC made six recommendations to Victoria Police aimed at improving employee training, the advice provided by the Legal Discipline Advisory Unit, and increasing monitoring of the ethical health of police officers who were subject to predatory behaviour allegations.

The Commission’s five-page report can be downloaded at this PS News link.

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