Published on Monday 04, September 2023
The Yoorrook Justice Commission recommends the Victorian Government establish a new independent police oversight authority
MELBOURNE: The Police Accountability Project (PAP) at Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) supports the Yoorrook Justice Commission's recommendation for urgent reforms to the criminal justice system, including a new adequately resourced independent police oversight authority. The interim report released today is further evidence that Victoria needs a #PoliceOmbudsmanNow.
The Yoorrook Justice Commission’s interim report, Yoorrook for Justice: Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems, recommended a new police oversight authority that is led by a statutory officer who has not been a police officer, and must have the power to investigate and determine all complaints about Victoria Police.
Ilo Diaz, the PAP’s advocacy coordinator said, "Victoria Police and the Victorian Government have heard about the experiences of First Nations People and now know what needs to change through the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s powerful work.
“They must take action now and establish a Police Ombudsman to tackle systemic racism within Victoria Police and ensure accountability for all misconduct."
The Yoorrook Justice Commission recommended the new police oversight authority have a broad range of powers including the ability to investigate and report on all police contact deaths/serious incidents, conduct independent monitoring of and reporting on police custody/detention, undertake public interest investigations, and publish its findings.
It determined the new authority must also have powers to arrest, search property and compel the production of information including from Victoria Police, and have a dedicated division for complaints from First Peoples that is under First Peoples leadership.
The Yoorrook Justice Commission also recommended the Victorian Government amend The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) to prohibit race and other forms of discrimination in the administration of State laws and programs, including all functions performed by Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria and child protection authorities.
The principal lawyer at the PAP, Gregor Husper, said “the Yoorrook Justice Commission recognises ongoing systemic racism within Victoria Police. People affected by racialised policing can now point to its report as evidence of systemic racism in Victoria Police, including in criminal or civil proceedings. Victoria Police must end targeted, predictive and over-policing of people of colour.”
The interim report is a body of evidence that proves the current police oversight system is ineffective and has failed all Victorians; especially, First Nations People.
“The Yoorrook Justice Commission has provided solutions to fix Victoria’s broken police accountability system. The Victorian Government must implement the recommendations and establish an independent Police Ombudsman now to build a safe, victim centric and culturally aware oversight system. There will be no accountability if Victoria Police are allowed to continue investigating their own misconduct,” Mr Diaz said.
Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL)
IMCL works for inclusive and safe communities and the full realisation of human rights, which includes advocating for systemic change in many areas including police accountability.
For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact:
Communications Lead - Inner Melbourne Community Legal
(03) 03 9328 1885 (between 9:00am - 5:00pm)