I’m Kylie Kilgour, and I’m a Deputy Commissioner at IBAC.
IBAC recently tabled a Special Report on police misconduct issues and risks associated with Victoria Police's Critical Incident Response Team, also known as CIRT, in the Parliament of Victoria.
The CIRT is a specialist team whose role and responsibilities include:
- acting as hostage negotiators, or assisting with suicide intervention and counter terrorism responses
- providing protection for internationally protected people, holders of high public office and international dignitaries
- providing specialist support at major events, and much more.
After receiving complaints and notifications about several serious use of force incidents involving some CIRT officers that occurred between 2017 and 2020, IBAC decided to conduct further research into the police misconduct risks raised by these cases and produce this Special Report.
IBAC acknowledges that for the individuals affected by these incidents there have been long term serious impacts on them and the communities they are part of.
While some of the incidents referred to in the report happened some time ago now, they highlight risks with how some CIRT officers report their use of force.
Through the research conducted in preparing the special report, IBAC found:
- instances of CIRT officers not properly reporting their use of force
- instances of inadequate risk assessment and planning processes
- instances of poor communication and coordination between CIRT and general duties officers
- instances of CIRT officers acting inconsistently with the Charter of Human Rights
- lack of gender diversity in the unit, in comparison to other areas of Victoria Police.
It is important to acknowledge that Victoria Police has taken steps in response to the incidents detailed in the report, as well as more broadly, to improve CIRT's operations. These include a plan to introduce an online Victoria Police use of force reporting system that aims to improve transparency and accountability for officers’ use of force, improved training regarding risk assessments and a plan to improve gender diversity.
I would also like to thank the members of the CIRT and other Victoria Police officers who assisted IBAC to conduct the research work.
The special report makes several recommendations to Victoria Police for further improvement. These include:
- requiring further ongoing reports to IBAC on the new use of force system and the training of officers regarding use of force and how it is reported
- consulting with other police agencies to identify barriers to accurate use of force reporting to inform the design of its new use of force reporting system
- strengthening CIRT’s approach to risk assessments
- providing better policy guidance on CIRT officers’ roles and responsibilities at incidents
- improving gender diversity at each level within CIRT, including leadership roles.
We have asked Victoria Police to implement our recommendations within 12 months.
To read the special report in full, go to our website at www.ibac.vic.gov.au. We will also be publishing Victoria Police's responses to the recommendations on our website shortly.
If you want to report police misconduct, please call 1300 735 135 or fill out the complaints form, which can also be found on our website.