28 October 2011

The reputation of state sector standards in Victoria will take another knock with the publication of a report by the Office of Police Integrity. The State parliament was in an uproar yesterday after a debate about the tabled report, with a member ejected and then almost all Opposition members walking out.

“Crossing the Line” as the OPI has titled the report, criticises the machinations of a policing adviser to the Deputy Prime Premier (and Police Minister), the junior Police Minister (and parliamentary spokesman) and the former Deputy Police Commissioner.  The adviser appears to have seen himself as the king maker in a conspiracy involving the resignation of the Police Commissioner, an industrial relations deal with the Police Association, and a reappointment of the Deputy Commissioner.

The OPI  commented on a small number of people whose actions were completely inconsistent with government policy. The adviser was found to have “… no sense of boundaries, neither where they were or when he crossed them, and even when the scale of his conduct had been exposed by the OPI he had no real insight into its manifest excesses and impropriety”.

The circumstances earlier this year revolved around feuding between the Police Commissioner and his deputy, a loss of political support for the Commissioner, and ultimately both the Commissioner and the deputy resigning.  The OPI began an investigation which was subsequently criticised by the Ombudsman as inappropriately managed. And in the background, despite the public commitment of the Premier when taking office last year, to strengthen integrity institutions, legislation establishing an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has yet to come into force.