IBAC publishes responses to our investigations to inform the community about actions agencies advise they are taking and to assist Victoria Police and the public sector strengthen policies, systems and practices to prevent corruption and misconduct.
Between August 2020 and January 2021, Victoria Police provided IBAC with the following responses outlining the actions it had taken in response to Operation Lynd:
1. Victoria Police advises IBAC why CIRT officers failed to act consistently with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities by not informing Mr Dimopoulos at the time of his arrest of the reason for the arrest and of any disciplinary action taken against CIRT officers in response.
Victoria Police advises it has investigated actions of officers with respect to the arrest of Mr Dimopoulos. The allegations and action taken by Victoria Police against the acting sergeant in charge of the CIRT are as follows:
- Allegation 1 - In May 2019, the complainant was arrested by police and the subject member failed to provide the complainant the reason for the arrest.
- Allegation 2 - In May 2019, the complainant was arrested by police and the subject member failed to provide the complainant with caution and rights after his arrest.
- Allegation 3 - In May 2019, the complainant was arrested by police and the subject member failed to provide the complainant with the reason for his arrest and failed to provide him with a caution and rights, therefore breaching section 21(4) of the Human Rights Charter.
- Outcome - The member was given Workplace Guidance on 23 November 2020 for all three matters.
Victoria Police further advises Mr Dimopoulos was not provided the reason for his arrest, as the acting sergeant in charge of the CIRT was of the view that once they had gained compliance and handed custody of him to the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) member, the detective would attend to that. The CIU member indicated he quickly realised Mr Dimopoulos was not the wanted offender and arranged for him to attend at hospital, therefore did not take him into custody.
2. Victoria Police establishes a formal custody handover procedure for the CIRT, to ensure individuals are detained by Victoria Police in a manner that is lawful and consistent with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.
Victoria Police advises the CIRT has adopted a process identical to the formal handover procedure practised by the Special Operations Group. This has been communicated to all CIRT members and is captured in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and requires CIRT members to undertake the following:
- inform the person why they have been arrested
- administer caution and rights
- ask if they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
- request the Police Forward Commander, or their representative, attend the scene for formal handover
- record the handover time and note any visible injuries to the person in custody.
CIRT SOP - Sergeant Responsibilities guides Sergeants by outlining responsibilities and requirements on management, leadership, and expected behaviours.
CIRT SOP - Duty Officer Role & Responsibilities guides duty officers at CIRT by outlining responsibilities relevant to that role.
3. As part of the Victoria Police ongoing review of its use of force reporting system, Victoria Police reviews its policies, procedures and training to ensure use of force reporting is appropriate, accurate, timely and consistent, and that CIRT members are complying with their obligations.
Victoria Police advises its policy on ‘Operational safety and the use of force’ governs use of force reporting and has been updated effective 20 June 2020. Bulletin Board advice was published on 30 December 2019 advising employees to accurately report when force has been used. A new system for reporting Use of Force (UOF) is being considered. Implementation of the new system will be dependent on the availability of funding. If a new system is implemented, it will be accompanied by a suitable educational program to ensure consistency and accuracy in reporting.
An additional dot point is being included in the Instructions at the top of page one of the Use of Force form stating, “Where a person received a serious injury resulting from the use of force by police, PSC must be notified”.
Formal face to face training in UOF is currently delivered to recruits, Protective Security Officers and Police Custody Officers as part of Foundation Training.
With respect to CIRT, deficiencies in reporting were identified, resulting in training being delivered to CIRT training officers on 29 July 2020. The training covered topics including policy requirements, reasons/rationale for reporting, common mistakes, coding of incidents and person warning flags. Following that training, communication from CIRT management to officers included detailed instructions covering 12 topics around the timely, complete and accurate reporting of circumstances when force is used. The current practice within CIRT is for supervisors to conduct a debrief after all incidents involving use of force and ensure organisational requirements, including use of force reporting, is completed.
4. Victoria Police provides IBAC with the information related to the CIRT including:
The status of the deployment and use of body worn cameras by CIRT officers including confirming when CIRT officers commenced using body worn cameras during their operational work
In January 2020, CIRT received body worn cameras for use during operational work.
At that time Chief Commissioner’s Instruction 06/19 ‘Body worn camera deployment’ provided guidelines for the use of body worn cameras to all police and Protective Services Officers. As of 10 December 2020, the information in this instruction was incorporated into Victoria Police Manual – Body worn cameras.
In addition, CIRT has developed Critical Incident Team - Standard Operating Procedures - Body Worn Cameras which provide further guidance to CIRT officers in the use of body worn cameras.
The use of body worn cameras is a focus of the current Operational Safety Tactics Training (OSTT) package and is incorporated into all OSTT practical exercises for police and Protective Security Officers.
Details of all ROCSID files (Victoria Police complaint and oversight files) involving the CIRT for the two-year period 2017-2019 including classifications, characterisation of classifications (e.g. use of force, bullying), determinations and recommendations.
The records are detailed in a spreadsheet provided to IBAC which shows that Victoria Police recorded 22 complaint or oversight files related to the CIRT during 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Of these, five files included allegations that were substantiated. Four of the five substantiated files related to off-duty conduct or incidents.
The most common allegations made against CIRT officers were:
- minor assaults (29 per cent of allegations made against the CIRT)
- duty failure (24 per cent of allegations)
- behavioural issues such as incivility (20 per cent of allegations).
An analysis of the complaint histories of all current CIRT members including:
i. The number of ROCSID files they have been linked to as the subject member prior to joining CIRT.
ii. The number of ROCSID files they have been linked to as the subject member since joining CIRT
iii. Details of any substantiated matters including any action taken in response
i. There are a total of 95 complaint files with respect to 55 employees who were a subject member prior to joining CIRT. They are broken down into the following categories:
- C1-0 (Workfile) – 1 file
- C1-5 (Preliminary enquiry file) – 8 files
- C2-1 (Minor misconduct) – 25 files
- C2-4 (Local management resolution) – 17 files
- C2-5 (Management intervention) – 26 files
- C3-2 (Misconduct connected to duty) – 14 files
- C3-3 (Criminality not connected to duty) – 3 files
- C3-4 (Corruption) – 1 file 
ii. There are a total of 33 complaint files with respect to 26 employees who were a subject member since joining CIRT. They are broken down into the following categories:
- C1-5 (Preliminary enquiry file) – 1 file
- C1-8 (Incident investigation/oversight) – 1 file
- C2-1 (Minor misconduct) – 15 files
- C2-4 (Local management resolution) – 3 files
- C2-5 (Management intervention) – 2 files
- C3-2 (Misconduct connected to duty) – 4 files
- C3-3 (Criminality not connected to duty) – 6 files
- C3-4 (Corruption) – 1 file
iii. There were 12 substantiated matters against 10 employees where the following actions were taken:
- Workplace guidance – 4 employees
- Admonishment – 3 employees
- Resigned – 1 employee
- Court – 1 employee
- Penalty notice – 1 employee
The details of each substantiated matter, including action taken by Victoria Police in response, is included in a spreadsheet provided to IBAC.
Details of PSC/CIRT vetting procedures for assessing prospective CIRT officer's complaint records
Victoria Police advises neither PSC nor Transit & Public Safety Command (TPSC) vet prospective candidates for recruitment to the CIRT. All recruitment of police officers is managed by the Transfer and Promotions Unit (TPU). TPU Recruitment Support Officer Team members conduct and generate ROCSID reports for all applicants who apply for vacancies, including CIRT positions.
The selection panel is provided with the ROCSID reports of all shortlisted applicants by the TPU recruitment consultant. This information helps the panel to assess 'good conduct' as part of the test of 'efficiency', which is defined in the Victoria Police Act 2013, Section 4 as the aptitude and special qualifications necessary for the discharge of the duties of the position in question, together with merit, diligence, good conduct, quality of service, mental capacity and physical fitness. Shortlisted applicants are provided with their own ROCSID reports prior to the panel interview to review for accuracy.
In every interview, the Selection Panel will ask the following questions:
- A check of the ROCSID database has been conducted. A copy of your ROCSID record has been provided to you. Can you advise the panel if the record is accurate?
- Are you currently the subject of any internal or external investigations or inquiries?
The Selection Panel has the ability to ask questions about previous discipline matters, or complaint history, if they deem it necessary to clarify any concerns that may impact the applicant's suitability to be promoted or transferred. There is provision for the applicant to respond to any concerns.
Further probity checks are conducted for selected applicants by the TPU Branch Manager to check if there are any active investigations or matters.
Should there be an active investigation, further enquiries may be conducted via the Recruitment and Deployment Division. In circumstances where probity results are deemed a risk or pose an issue to the selection, a report is compiled for the review and consideration of the Department Head of TPSC.
Equipment management records for the CIRT for 2017-2019 including lost equipment reports and armoury audits.
Victoria Police advises the CIRT maintains records of accountable equipment (including armoury items) which is audited three times each day. Hard copy records to January 2019 are retained by CIRT.
When an accountable item cannot be located, the person to whom the item is issued is required to compile a report outlining the circumstances of the loss and attempts made to locate the item. This report is accompanied by several supporting documents and submitted to the Equipment Issue Office. The Equipment Issue Office then records the loss of the item on the asset Register and forwards the report via the chain of command to the Divisional Superintendent, who then forwards the report to the Manager, Finance and Shared Services. The transmission of the report is recorded in Station Books, and associated Lost Property, and or reports are submitted for recording on the LEAP database.
A table detailing all items reported lost or unaccounted for during the period 2017-2019 has been provided to IBAC detailing seven lost items, two of which were subsequently relocated.
Security Services Division - Standard Operating Procedures - Stores/Equipment Office provides guidance to CIRT officers in the management and handling of equipment.
Furthermore, all items of equipment held by CIRT are recorded in asset register and are audited for each shift. A sample report has been provided to IBAC.
 Additional information on Victoria Police's complaint file categories is available in IBAC's Audit of Victoria Police complaint handling systems at regional level (2016).