Operation Yarrowitch investigated the alleged use, possession and trafficking of illicit drugs by police officers and also examined the police officers’ subsequent associations with criminal figures.
IBAC commenced an ‘own motion’ investigation, Operation Yarrowitch, in January 2016, concerning a police officer (referred to as First Constable Y) who had been the subject of two previous complaints relating to alleged use of illicit drugs. Victoria Police's Professional Standards Command (PSC) initially investigated both complaints. IBAC reviewed these investigations and identified additional lines of inquiry that could be pursued.
Operation Yarrowitch established that a sibling of First Constable Y was involved in the use and trafficking of illicit drugs, and that First Constable Y was at the very least aware of his drug use.
IBAC investigators executed a search warrant on the private residence of First Constable Y and found quantities of cocaine and MDMA (allegedly belonging to First Constable Y's brother) and seized electronic devices.
Private examinations were also conducted. First Constable Y denied under oath using drugs while a police officer. When presented later with evidence to the contrary, First Constable Y made admissions to illicit drug use while a serving police officer.
IBAC has charged First Constable Y with making a false or misleading statement to IBAC and four counts of perjury in relation to evidence given during the private examinations.
Operation Yarrowitch featured in a Special report concerning illicit drug use by Victoria Police officers: Operations Apsley, Hotham and Yarrowitch, tabled in December 2016.
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.