Monday, July 9, 2012

Claims of police violence and corruption on the rise in Victoria

ROGUE police have been caught committing almost 300 crimes in three years, and the number of assaults by officers has tripled.

Other dirty deeds by officers who have crossed the line include rapes, sex attacks, manufacturing child pornography, firearms offences, thefts, deceptions, perjury, stalking, drug offences, attempting to pervert the course of justice and having criminal associations.

More than 9500 allegations of criminal acts, bad behaviour and duty failures were made in 2009-11, with one in five allegations levelled at bad apple cops by other police.

Proven assault cases saw police manhandle, choke, kick, head butt, knee, punch and strike their victims with batons, documents released to the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws reveal.

The 21 serious and 40 minor assault allegations uphels from 1653 allegations in more than 1100 separate complaints in 2009-11 was almost triple the annual rate of police assaults proven in the previous eight years, when just 25 serious and 56 minor assault allegations were substantiated.

Police command said the total number of complaints was low as a percentage of the more than 750,000 interactions the force's 12,000 operational members have with the public each year, but it took all allegations seriously.

"While we do not believe there is a culture of excessive violence or intimidation within Victoria Police, any substantiated complaint is a cause for concern and will be dealt with appropriately," a spokeswoman said.

"Victoria Police will continue to maintain an uncompromising stance against officers who break the law.

"Any officer found guilty of a criminal offence is subject not only to the punishment of the courts, but is also subject to a thorough internal investigation by the Ethical Standards Department, where depending on the seriousness of the crime they may be dismissed or receive another disciplinary sanctions such as being stripped of rank, pay or promotions."

Lawyers representing victims of police brutality said many bad police escape justice.

"Criminal charges being laid against police for assaults and the like are a rarity," said prominent QC Dyson Hore-Lacy. "Even where close circuit footage is available on occasions, which show blatant assaults, charges have not been substantiated."



NO police have been charged over an appalling incident involving Chinese national Gong Ling Tang, 53, who died on May 13, 2010.

Mr Tang crawled "like a dog" from his cell before he was dumped in a puddle outside Dandenong station on a wet and cold night and an ambulance was called.

CCTV, which has not been released, shows officers standing over him and laughing.

Policewomen can also be seen holding their noses after the man soiled himself while in custody and an officer is believed to have sat in a heated police van to watch the man before an ambulance arrived.


THE Ethical Standards Department is investigating after CCTV footage from a Dandenong police station cellsshowed Monica Hennig being doused with capsicum spray and man-handled.

Ms Hennig, 47, is suing the force, claiming a sergeant "wrongfully abused his official power and that her rights, physical integrity and person safety were disregarded" during the incident in May, 2009.

Senior police say the officer feared he was about to be assaulted. No charges have been laid to date.


BONSAI gardener Tim Vivoda was allegedly punched in the face at Ringwood police station by a leading senior constable as he was being processed to into the cells in 2008.

He has filed a statement of claim alleging the constable abused his power and attempted to pervert the course of justice.

CCTV footage shows an officer step back and punch Mr Vivoda in the face after he attempts to push past him to the exit.

Mr Vivoda, 41, was locked up and charged with assaulting police - a charge of which he was cleared.

More than 100 assault allegations against police were unable to be determined in 2009-11, with 334 others withdrawn or not proceeded with. Officers were exonerated of 33 allegations, with 1114 others determined to be "not substantiated", "unfounded" or having "no complaint" to answer.

Proven cases of cops behaving badly - making threats, indecent behaviour, abuse, being aggressive, insulting, intimidating, harassing and behaving improperly - have also risen, with almost five cases a fortnight upheld in 2009-11. And two officers a week on average are caught failing to do their duty, also up from the previous eight years.

The only significant decline were sex assault allegations, with six offences substantiated from 58 complaints in the past three years, and 35 proven cases the previous eight years.

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said the figures showed complaints were "registered, investigated and taken seriously.

"In the same period we have had in excess of 8000 assaults on police."

"These people are entitled to make complaints. Some of them are legitimate, some are spurious.

But he did not agree a new independent investigating body was needed.

"At least with the data being gathered people can rest assured their complaints are registered, investigated and taken seriously.’’

The 9547 specific allegations probed by the force's ethical standards department were made in 5170 separate complaints - an average of more than 33 every week.

The public made 7113 allegations, other police 1897 and 536 were forwarded from other bodies including the Ombudsman and Office of Police Integrity.

Complaints were made - and upheld - against all police ranks, from senior command to recruits, reservists and public servants.

Two in five public complaints were upheld in some fashion, compared to three in five internal allegations; and public complaints were twice as likely (two in five) to be dismissed.

In all, 907 allegations against police were substantiated - six a week. In 37 other cases lesser charges were upheld, 37 cases were conciliated and 2856 were resolved to the satisfaction of complainants.

Another 872 were determined to be unfounded, 1714 could not be substantiated, 14 were false reports and 126 officers were exonerated.

The remaining allegations were not resolved (763); could not be determined (445); involved members who could not be identified (444); were withdrawn (280); were not proceeded with (203); or were not finalised (nine).


1 comment:

  1. Ombudsman is next to useless. In NSW, when someone lodges a complaint, it's essentially police from their own police station investigating themselves. Totally unfair system as it is not independent or impartial.


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