Special reports

Victoria Police’s responses to IBAC’s recommendations

This special report is an opportunity to increase transparency and accountability around Victoria Police’s responses to IBAC recommendations and signals IBAC's intention to report on them on a regular basis.

As a result of investigations, research, and audits the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) makes recommendations to Victoria Police to address and prevent police misconduct and corruption.

In developing this special report, IBAC analysed how Victoria Police responded to 104 recommendations made by IBAC following investigations, in special reports, and in research and audit reports between January 2016 and March 2022. IBAC last publicly reported on recommendations made to Victoria Police in 2015 in its special report on police oversight.

This report examines:

  • whether Victoria Police accepted or rejected IBAC’s recommendations
  • whether Victoria Police implemented the recommendations it accepted
  • timeliness, including the time taken for Victoria Police to respond to IBAC and implement recommendations
  • discipline recommendations, including what disciplinary or management action Victoria Police took against officers
  • the systemic or organisational misconduct risks targeted by IBAC’s recommendations, for example, conflicts of interest.

This report also draws attention to systemic and organisational police misconduct risks which remain ongoing.

  • Key findings about recommendations to Victoria Police

    • Victoria Police accepts and implements over 90 per cent of IBAC’s recommendations.
    • Half of IBAC’s investigations involving Victoria Police led to discipline recommendations.
    • Half of recommendations that related to taking disciplinary or management action against officers were made in part because officers engaged in ‘obscuring behaviours’, like concealing or failing to accurately disclose misconduct.
    • Improving how Victoria Police handles complaints and undertakes its own misconduct investigations was the issue targeted by the most recommendations.
    • Use of force reporting, conflicts of interest, and note-taking and statement making remain systemic and organisational police misconduct risks.
    • Victoria Police is usually late when reporting on the implementation of recommendations to IBAC.
    • Most recommendations were implemented within two years.

    IBAC’s recommendation functions and powers

    Under the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (IBAC Act) IBAC can make recommendations to Victoria Police (and the public sector generally).

    Section 15 of the IBAC Act gives IBAC education and prevention functions which include making recommendations to the public sector. Under the IBAC Act, this includes Victoria Police.

    IBAC also has recommendation powers which relate specifically to investigations. These are set out in section 159 of the IBAC Act and permit IBAC to make recommendations at any time in relation to a matter arising out of an investigation about any action IBAC considers should be taken.

    Victoria Police is not required to accept, implement, or publicly report on IBAC’s recommendations. However, recommendations made under section 159 of the IBAC Act require Victoria Police to give a report to IBAC if it does not intend to adopt a recommendation stating the reason why.
    There are limits to IBAC’s recommendation powers under section 159 of the IBAC Act. Unless a section 159 recommendation is contained in a special or annual report, it must be made in private. IBAC can make previously private recommendations public if IBAC considers there has been failure to take appropriate action in relation to a recommendation. Analysis of such private recommendations has informed this report’s findings, but they are not quoted in this report.

    In its current form, the IBAC Act limits IBAC’s ability to hold agencies, including Victoria Police, publicly accountable. IBAC is seeking legislative change to permit greater visibility of all its recommendations. IBAC is seeking legislative change to permit greater visibility of all its recommendations.