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Focus on Vic cop complaint history: IBAC

AAP logoAAP 26/09/2016 Helen Velissaris

Victoria Police should consider whether accused officers have attracted prior complaints when investigating allegations against them, says the state's anti-corruption watchdog.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has investigated the way the force handles complaints against its own and found it could do better based on nine recommendations.

The commission audited more than 400 complaint files from 2014-15 in the western and southern metropolitan area, finding priors were largely not considered.

"This is particularly concerning where an officer may have a history of alleged similar behaviour," IBAC says in its report.

The audit found in one case, an officer being investigated had been the subject of a complaint of a similar nature four months before but his complaint history was not considered.

Of the cases audited by IBAC, only seven per cent involved consideration of priors even if it was obvious to do so.

Poor record keeping, complaint investigation delays and a lack of clarity in final decisions were also flagged for improvement by IBAC.

Almost one-third of investigations were not completed in time, with 80 per cent overdue by a week.

Some of the officers who investigated complaints had a poor understanding of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, which meant they had difficulty applying it.

Victoria Police is working through the recommendations and will respond "in due course".

IBAC has recommended attaching an officer's complaint history to all complaint files, requiring police officers to declare conflicts of interest and providing clearer information and training for officers.

It also recommended the number of complaints, their classifications, determinations and recommendations be released publicly.

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