Victoria needs a Police Ombudsman.
Victorians who have been harmed by Victoria Police deserve to be heard. Making a complaint against police should be safe, accessible and fair.
Victorians have a Telecommunications Ombudsman, a Public Transport Ombudsman, an Energy and Water Ombudsman and the Victorian Ombudsman. Why don’t we have a Police Ombudsman?
We need a system that puts people at the centre. A system that is:
Investigations into police harm must not be conducted by police. The Police Ombudsman needs to be institutionally, practically, culturally and politically independent.
The Victorian Government must dedicate appropriate powers and resources to the independent investigation of police complaints, proportionate growing size of Victoria Police.
People who make complaints about police should be able to fully participate in investigations. The process needs to be culturally safe, particularly for Aboriginal people who have been badly impacted by policing practices in Victoria.
For people who do not feel safe to make an individual complaint, there must be a channel for the health sector, social services and community organisations, including legal organisations, to raise complaints about systemic issues.
Victims should have their matters looked at quickly with remedies that meet their needs, and improve police practices to prevent it happening again. Investigation should look at more than whether police procedures were followed, but whether the procedures are adequate, appropriate, and did not result in harm.
People who have experienced police harm need to have input into the complaint investigation process. They need to be given information about their complaint and the right to respond to information provided by police. They need to be informed of the outcome and given the right to appeal the decision.
We need a wide-ranging police monitoring regime to identify systemic problems. This will involve Victoria Police maintaining accurate, publicly accessible data on police use of powers and weapons, including data on who they stop and search.