This policy brief sets out VALS’ position on the key principles for reform of Victoria’s police oversight system, which in the opinion of this paper, is broken. A full policy paper with more detailed recommendations for the design of a police oversight regime will follow in the coming months.
Recommendation 1. In addition to the current review, the Government must undertake a more comprehensive reform process to consult on, design and implement all the core components of a police oversight system.
Recommendation 2. The Government must establish a new independent police complaints body, that has adequate powers and resources, incorporates procedural fairness principles and responds to the needs of Aboriginal complainants.
Recommendation 3. All police complaints, except customer service matters, must be dealt with by the independent police complaints body. This includes police contact deaths and serious injuries, which must never be investigated by police.
Recommendation 4. The Office of Public Prosecutions must be required to provide a written justification to the complainant and the independent complaints body if it does not pursue charges following a recommendation from the independent police complaints body.
Recommendation 5. Victoria Police should be required to publicly release data, broken down by key demographic characteristics including Aboriginality and geography, on the use of key police powers that disproportionately affect marginalised people, including searches, move-on orders, and youth arrests.
Recommendation 6. The Victorian Government must establish an independent monitoring body with powers to access and analyse data about the use of police powers, and issue public reports.
Recommendation 7. The Victorian Government must carry out robust, transparent and inclusive consultations with Aboriginal communities in Victoria, Aboriginal representative bodies and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), in relation to culturally appropriate implementation of the Optional Protocol on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment (OPCAT).
Recommendation 8. The Victorian Government must establish an Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner to oversee Aboriginal justice outcomes in Victoria and operate as an oversight mechanism for the implementation of recommendations from the RCIADIC, coronial inquests, and other inquiries and commissions.