Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The rot at Victoria police continues

Sounds like Overland is a dead man walking

A SENIOR Baillieu Government whistleblower has formally complained to the Ombudsman about the activities of Chief Commissioner Simon Overland. The Government figure has accused Mr Overland and the Office of Police Integrity of abusing their power in their pursuit of Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones.

The whistleblower has given information to Ombudsman George Brouwer detailing the alleged roles of Mr Overland and the OPI in having Sir Ken's phone bugged.

Mr Brouwer is investigating whether there was improper collusion between Mr Overland and the OPI, allegedly resulting in the intrusive powers of the OPI being unleashed on Sir Ken and his family. The Ombudsman's office has secretly interviewed the Baillieu Government figure and is in the process of interviewing others to try to corroborate the allegations.

Victoria Police yesterday said it was not possible for Mr Overland to comment. "Any investigation by the OPI is a matter for them and it would be wrong for us to comment on it. The same applies to any investigation by the Ombudsman," a force spokesman said.

Asked about the Ombudsman's probe into the OPI, its director Michael Strong said he was satisfied that "every step taken in this investigation has been taken in good faith and on appropriate grounds".

A spokeswoman for Premier Ted Baillieu said it was inappropriate for the Government to comment on the Ombudsman's inquiry.

If the whistelblower's allegations proved correct the Ombudsman's findings, expected to be tabled in State Parliament, could provide the trigger for the Baillieu Government to replace Mr Overland.

Another potentially explosive Ombudsman's report into allegations senior Victoria Police officers were pressured to release favourable crime statistics in the lead-up to last year's state election, as a boost to the former Labor government, is also expected to provide more anti-Overland ammunition for the Baillieu Government.

The Herald Sun has revealed Sir Ken felt betrayed after allegedly becoming unwittingly caught in the middle of political dirty dealing. He was so concerned after meetings with Premier Ted Baillieu's right-hand man that he sought Police Association boss Greg Davies for advice.

Sen-Sgt Davies, who told Police Minister Peter Ryan about the meeting after Sir Ken raised concerns with him, said Sir Ken felt he was being used.

Mr Ryan yesterday said neither he nor Mr Baillieu were aware of the meeting between Baillieu adviser Michael Kapel and Sir Ken when it happened. The Premier defended Mr Kapel's action as a normal practice of government.


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