The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, IBAC, last week launched a new campaign encouraging regional communities to speak out against police misconduct.
IBAC’s ‘You have the right to not remain silent’ campaign will raise awareness of the independent watchdog’s police oversight role and empower members of the community to report suspected police misconduct or provide information anonymously.
IBAC has independent oversight of Victoria Police to ensure police act impartiality, professionally in accordance with the law and with respect to human rights.
IBAC’s jurisdiction covers serious misconduct such as assault, disclosing sensitive police information, major cover-ups, bribery or fraud.
IBAC also takes complaints on any conduct that would bring the force into disrepute or cause the public to lose confidence in police including breaches of human rights such as racism, sexist or discriminatory use of power, degrading treatment, and the safety and wellbeing of a victim or complainant.
IBAC received more than 1600 complaints relating to Victoria Police in 2021, accounting for 55 per cent of IBAC’s total complaints received.
While its limited resources requires IBAC to refer many complaints to Victoria Police for investigation, IBAC reviews and audits police investigations to help ensure police appropriately discharge their responsibility for police misconduct and identify policies and practices that need to be improved.
IBAC’s intelligence suggests there may be incidents of police misconduct that go unreported by the public, particularly in parts of regional Victoria.
IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich said IBAC took all complaints seriously and information provided by the public helped prevent and expose police misconduct.
“Reporting police misconduct can assist IBAC to address systemic police misconduct issues and improve the conduct of Victoria Police’s internal investigations,” he said.
Some complaints lead to important investigations that result in disciplinary action and criminal prosecutions.
People can find out more information about reporting police misconduct to IBAC at www.ibac.vic.gov.au or by calling 1300 735 135.