Special reports

Operation Hotham

Operation Hotham investigated the alleged use, possession and trafficking of illicit drugs by police officers and also examined the police officers’ subsequent associations with criminal figures.

In October 2014 IBAC commenced an ‘own motion’ investigation, Operation Hotham. The investigation centred on allegations that a serving police officer was:

  • involved in using and supplying illicit drugs 
  • closely associating with persons involved in the supply of illicit drugs 
  • assisting and protecting drug suppliers.


The investigation found the officer was a user of illicit drugs, and was closely associated with people involved in significant criminal activity. There was also evidence the officer protected an associate from law enforcement attention.

IBAC determined against pursuing criminal charges against the officer and referred the matter back to Victoria Police to instigate disciplinary proceedings. The officer resigned under investigation from Victoria Police the day before a discipline hearing was to take place in November 2015.

Operation Hotham 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.