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Appointing the Chief of Police

June 21, 2012

How do you safeguard the integrity and independence of the Office of Chief Commissioner of Police?

Reports in the Sunday Herald Sun on 10 June and the release of the Ombudsman’s Download Investigation_into_allegations_of_detrimental_action_involving_Victoria_Police2.pdf Investigation into allegations of detrimental action involving Victoria Police today reveal further intrigue and machinations with the ‘forced’ departure of former Chief Commissioner Simon Overland.  Stark difference of opinion now exists publicly between Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Peter Ryan, and his former Parliamentary Secretary Bill Tilley. Quite frankly, only an independent judicial inquiry will be sufficient to get to the bottom of this matter.

Alongside this “who said what” issue revolves the potential politicisation of the appointment process for Victoria’s top cop into the future.

Section 4 of the Victorian Police Regulation Act 1958 allows for the Governor in Council to appoint a Chief Commissioner of Police for a term of up to five years, and may “suspend reduce discharge or dismiss any such Chief Commissioner”.

A recommendation is made to the Governor in Council by the Government of the day, and of all the Chief Commissioners appointed in Victoria, there has been no example of a recommendation not being accepted.  Nor has there been an example of a Chief Commissioner being stood down by the Governor, and so these powers have not been tested.

However, given the potential in Victoria for the role to be politicised, a range of alternative appointment processes could be considered.

In a series of articles, David Baker and Alistair Harkness argue that politics must be taken out of policing, and question whether – under a system of government appointment, Victoria always got the police leadership it deserves.

Read more here:

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/overlands-legacy-should-be-independence-for-police-chiefs-20111101-1mtrp.html

http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/the-overland-conspiracy

http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/take-the-politics-out-of-top-cop-appointment

http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/the-rush-report-a-missed-opportunity

 Alistair Harkness

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From → Policing

One Comment
  1. Tam permalink

    Very informative articles – best wishes for the blog =)

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