In June 2015, IBAC commenced Operation Apsley, an investigation into allegations a police officer was involved in the use, possession and trafficking of illicit drugs.
In June 2015, IBAC commenced an investigation into an allegation that a police officer at a metropolitan station was trafficking and possessing drugs of dependence for their own personal use and to sell to other officers of Victoria Police. By September 2015, the investigation had revealed an interconnected social network of sworn police officers and civilians, each suspected of using (and in some cases trafficking) illicit drugs. Operation Apsley was subsequently expanded to examine the conduct of these police officers.
Twelve police officers were subject to targeted drug tests during Operation Apsley. Four returned positive results for drugs of dependence including cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine. A further two officers returned negative drug tests but later made admissions under oath to using illicit drugs during their police careers.
As part of IBAC's investigation, between August 2015 and April 2016, 23 private examinations were conducted with 17 individuals, including 12 police officers and five civilians.
Operation Apsley featured in a Special report concerning illicit drug use by Victoria Police officers: Operations Apsley, Hotham and Yarrowitch, tabled in December 2016.
As a result of Operation Apsley, one officer was dismissed from Victoria Police, two resigned under investigation, one was admonished and allowed to return to work, and two remain suspended awaiting criminal and/or discipline proceedings.
IBAC also charged one officer with the offence of inciting a witness to mislead IBAC. A second was charged by Victoria Police in relation to drug offences. IBAC has made recommendations to Victoria Police to undertake a comprehensive review of illicit drug use by its officers, with the objective of strengthening its policies, systems and practices to detect and prevent such conduct.
Victoria Police has provided IBAC with progress reports on development and implementation of a more robust framework to prevent and detect police illicit drug use.