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For the Canadian Force see: Victoria Police Department


Victoria Police is the primary law enforcement agency of Victoriamarker, Australia. , the Victoria Police has over 11,100 personnel along with over 2,400 civilian staff across 339 police stations.

History

Early history

Mounted officers of the Victoria Police
The Victoria Police was formally established on 8 January 1853 from an existing colonial police force of 875 men. The first appointment as Chief Commissioner was William Henry Fancourt Mitchell.

Their first major engagement was the following year, 1854, in support of British soldiers during the events leading up to, and confrontation at, the Eureka Stockade where some miners (mostly Irish), police and soldiers were killed . Following the brutality of the police after the stockade, public opinion turned against them, the 13 miners charged with treason were all acquitted and police numbers were dramatically cut .

A new Chief Commissioner, Charles MacMahon, was appointed that same year. The first death in the line of duty, that of Constable William Hogan, also occurred in 1854.

The following couple of decades saw the growth of the police force, including the beginning of construction of the Russell Street police station in 1859 and the establishment of a special station in William Street to protect the Royal Mint in 1872.

Six years later, three more officers (Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlan) who had jailed Ned Kelly's mother were murdered by the Kelly Gang at Stringybark Creek. Two years later, in 1880, the police confronted the Kelly Gang at Glenrowanmarker. A shoot-out ensued on 28 June, during which three members of the Kelly Gang were killed and following which Ned Kelly was captured.

1880 also saw the formation of the Aboriginal Tracker Corps. The corps was disbanded in 1968.

In 1888 Senior Constable John Barry produced the first Victoria Police Guide, a manual for officers. (The Victoria Police Manual, as it is now known, remains the comprehensive guide to procedure in the Victoria Police.) Police officers were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections the same year.

In 1899 the force introduced the Victoria Police Valour Award to recognise the bravery of members.Three years later, in 1902, the right to a police pension was revoked.

1923 Victorian Police strike

On 31 October 1923 members of the Victoria Police Force refused duty and went on strike over the introduction of a new supervisory system.The police strike led to riots and looting in Melbournemarker's CBD. The Victorian government enlisted Special Constables, and the Commonwealth of Australia called out the Australian military. Victoria Police are the only Australian police department to ever go on strike.

Only a small amount of the strikers were ever employed as policemen again, but the government increased pay and conditions for police as a result. Members of the Victoria Police (as its officers are generally known) now have among the highest union membership rates of any occupation, at well over 90%. The Victorian police union, the Police Association, remains a very powerful industrial and political force in Victoria.

Recent history - controversy and corruption allegations



In the 1980s and 1990s most Australian police force battled widespread allegations of corruption and graft. These allegations culminated in the establishment of several Royal Commissions and anti-corruption watchdogs. Victoria Police have also had their fair share of inquiries (Beach et al.). Criticisms centred around the fact that Victoria Police members were fatally shooting members of the public (both innocent and guilty) at a rate exceeding that of all other Australian police force combined .

In 2001, Christine Nixon was appointed Chief Commissioner, becoming the first woman to head a police force in Australia.

In addition to allegations of corruption among the Uniformed Members of Victoria Police, allegations also surfaced in respect of senior members of the Civil Service serving in Victoria Police. Two Motions were raised in the Supreme Court of Victoria. One, Motion 5771/2002 alleged that senior members of Victoria Police divulged the name of a senior Victoria Police Whistleblower to the detriment of his safety. The other, Motion 6337/2002 alleged that the Ombusman's Office and Auditor General's Office in Victoria had falsified evidence and produced a whitewash report into allegations of corruption in relation to several multi-million dollar contracts. For reference, these documents may be viewed at the Prothonotary's Office at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne.

In June 2003, Taskforce Purana was set up under the command of (then) Assistant Commissioner Simon Overland to investigate Melbourne's "gangland killings".

Victoria Police boat docked.


In May 2004 former police officer Simon Illingworth appeared on Australian Story to tell his disturbing story of entrenched police corruption in Victoria Police. He has also written a book about his experiences entitled "Filthy Rat".

In early 2007, Don Stewart, a retired Supreme Courtmarker judge, called for a Royal Commission into Victorian police corruption. Stewart alleged that the force is riddled with corruption that the Office of Police Integrity was unable to deal with. .

In early February 2009, in response to evidence that many of the 2009 Victorian bushfires were deliberately lit, Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon announced the creation of Taskforce Phoenix to investigate all related deaths during the fires, to be led by Assistant Commissioner Dannye Moloney of the crime department and was composed of around 100 police officers..

On 2 March 2009; Simon Overland was named as the new Chief Commissioner; replacing Christine Nixon, who was retiring..

Rank structure

Victoria Police on patrol


The Victoria Police is run in a para-military structure. All sworn members start at the lowest rank of Probationary Constable / Constable and work their way up. Confirmed Constables are promoted in situ to Senior Constable after 4 years. Promotion beyond Senior Constable is highly competitive.

Constable & Non-Commissioned Ranks
Rank Constable Senior

Constable
Leading

Senior

Constable
Sergeant Senior

Sergeant
Insignia


Commissioned Ranks
Rank Inspector Chief

Inspector
Superintendent Chief

Superintendent
Commander Assistant

Commissioner
Deputy

Commissioner
Chief

Commissioner
Insignia


Non-Commissioned Ranks

Victoria Police vehicles in Melbourne


Promotion to the Rank of Sergeant and beyond is based upon a "merit based" promotion system. A Sergeant normally manages a team during a shift, like Patrol Supervisor of a district for a shift. A Detective Sergeant is normally in charge of a team in a specific part of either Local Detectives at Police Stations or crime squads.

A Senior Sergeant oversees the Sergeants and traditionally perform more administrative work, coordination of policing operations or specialist work than active patrol duties. They perform middle management duties. General duties Senior Sergeants are traditionally in charge of most police stations or can be a sub-charge (or second in charge) of larger (usually a twenty-four hour) police station. In each Division, or group of divisions on a night shift, a Senior Sergeant is the Division Supervisor for a shift and is responsible for managing and overseeing incidents in their area. Detective Senior Sergeants are usually Officer in Charge of the Crime Investigation Units.

Designations

Additional classifications are available for members skilful enough, and upon completion of certain training and work-based performances, for classification of Detective at Senior Constable level. Detectives also hold classification up to Chief Superintendent.

Devolved Ranks

The ranks of Chief Inspector and Chief Superintendent are no longer promotable ranks, however some officers still hold these ranks.

Positions

It used to be the case that Leading Senior Constable (LSC) is a position listed in the Rank structure but was not a Rank per se. It was only open for Senior Constables to apply for and was not a permanent position. If a member transferred to another duty type or station, the officer was then relieved of the position of LSC. It was primarily is a position for Field Training Officers who oversees the training and development of inexperienced Probationary Constables or Constables.

The most recent round of wage negotiations however saw the title of Leading Senior Constable become an actual rank. It is awarded "in situ" but only after assessments have been made against the Senior Constable's ability to move to the higher position. Leading Senior Constables are now capable of being upgraded to Acting Sergeant and it is expected that the position is one that people will move through as they are promoted.

Members who held the position or classification of Leading Senior Constable under the last Enterprise Bargaining Agreements will retain their title and position.

Detective branch

Detectives form an integral function in Victoria Police for the detection and investigation of serious crime. Crimes ranging from Burglaries and major thefts, serious assaults and now, as a result of the reorganisation of the Crime Department, Murder/Suicides are just some of the crimes investigated by Suburban (Divisional) Detectives.

Many major police stations, in places such as Prahran, Fawkner, Broadmeadows, Dandenong and Melbourne West have a Crime Investigation Unit attached to the station, which looks after crime within those and other neighbouring sub-districts falling within their area.

The State Crime Squads, situated in St Kilda Road, have been recently realigned and contain a number of squads and mini taskforces responsible for the investigation of major drug trafficking activities, major frauds, Homicides, Armed Robbery and Firearms Trafficking and sex offences to name but a few.

Ensign of the Victoria Police, dedicated on 7 February 1997, held at the Chapel of the Victoria Police Academy.
To become a Detective within Victoria Police members must be confirmed Senior Constables, with at least 3 years service, have completed the Field Investigation Course and obtained sufficient experience to sustain the application and interviewing process. Upon obtaining a position at a CIU/Squad, members must then complete the training package (preliminary portfolio of work and course attendance) at the School of Investigation (Detective Training School) to confirm their position as a qualified Detective. Detective positions within Victoria Police are highly sought after and awarded, generally, to only the best police applying.

Traditionally, more experienced detectives cut their teeth at divisions and then moved into the crime squads. However the last 10 years has seen a switch in that progression, in that many junior detectives first obtain positions at the sometimes easier to fill Crime Department positions and then later moving onto divisional work. One major reason for this is the travel and often heavy hours involved in working within Metropolitan Melbourne.

The more major crime squads, such as Homicide, still attract only the most experienced detectives from divisions. The newly implemented Major Crime Management Model has changed the face of some squads, including the traditional hardmen of the Crime Department, the Armed Offenders Squad, which has lost some of its lustre by being forced to choose members who may not have obtained positions were it not for the need to fill these from within the Crime Department.

Firearms and equipment

ASP 21' baton in expandable and collapsed state.


Officers carry the .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver in K-Frame, containing six copper jacketed, notched, hollow point bullets (147 grain) and one speedloader of spare ammunition (six rounds). They also carry an ASP brand 21-inch expandable baton, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray and Hiatts brand handcuffs. The vast majority of officers carry a Motorola brand tactical radio (with or without handpiece). Other divisions of the Victoria Police have speciality equipment and defensive weapons.

All of the above equipment is carried on members by an equipment belt also known as a gun belt or weapon belt. The equipment belt Victoria Police officers use is made of nylon and was phased in post 2003, specifically designed to be very light-weight and to replace the old equipment belt made from leather. Some members continue to wear leather duty belts. Both belts, whether Nylon or Leather, consist of one firearm holster placed on the side of the member (left or right side to suit member), one speed loader pouch, one ASP (baton) pouch, one OC Spray pouch, one hand cuff pouch and one holder for the portable radio. Other holsters can be added to the belt to suit members duties such as a clip to hold the Polycarbonate Baton or mag light. In 2007/08, the Chief Commissioner approved the issue of firearm holsters which could be strapped around the members thighs, to replace the low-riding belt gun holster. These holsters are issued to members who request such, and are commonly requested by members suffer from back aches (as a result of heavy utility belt), or those who find it more operationally sound to draw their firearms from a lower position (as this option offers a more comfortable reach).

The weapons issued to police was a politically contentious issue in the 2006 Victorian state election. A deal between the police union and the state government allocated funding sufficient to cover replacement of the revolvers with semi-automatic pistols, and the equipping of all police cars with tasers, was reached without the involvement of police command. However, despite the allocation of funds in the 2007 state budget, there was initially no indication that the police command had actually decided to purchase the new weapons.

After a violent shootout in Melbourne, during which a man shot a police officer and was shot dead himself, concerns were raised by the Police Association about a possible upgrade to semi-automatic weapons with the $10 million allocated to the police in the 2008-09 Victorian State Budget. Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon launched an inquiry into the fiscal aspect of a possible upgrade.

On the 6th of June, 2008 Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon announced that an external panel, consisting of a County Courtmarker Judge, members of the Australian Defence Force, members of the community, an ethicist and "other professionals" advised that Victoria Police should adopt semi-automatic duty firearms. The Chief Commissioner had previously announced that she would accept and implement the recommendations of the external panel. She further stated her concerns in regards to semi-automatic firearms, especially if Members of the Police Force required the additional fire power. She believed that there were no incidents she could foresee where general duties members would require the additional ammunition afforded by a semi-automatic duty firearm. In her statement on the Radio 3AW Melbourne she stated that she would like to see the new firearms begin to be issued in about six months.

Officers killed on duty

  • 27 March 1986, Constable Angela Taylor was killed in the Russell Street Bombing. Taylor was the first female police officer killed in the line of duty in Australian history.
  • 12 October 1988, officers Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre were gunned down in the Walsh Street police shootings.
  • 16 August 1998, officers Gary Silk and Rodney Miller were gunned down in the Silk-Miller police murders.


Chapel of Remembrance, within the main Chapel, Victoria Police Academy.
Memorials to officers killed on duty are maintained at the Chapel of Remembrance within the main Chapel of the Victoria Police Academymarker at Glen Waverleymarker in the eastern suburbs of Melbournemarker.

See also



References

  1. Careers Wed 26 March 2008, Victoria Police
  2. New lethal weapons for police - VicElection06News - Victoria Votes
  3. Former judge says Vic police are corrupt - Breaking News - National - Breaking News
  4. http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2487831.htm
  5. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25125866-1243,00.html
  6. $273m extra to fight crime | Herald Sun


External links




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