Victoria’s independent anti-corruption commission commenced 27 investigations and completed 14 investigations (including preliminary inquiries), including two major operations, Tone and Lansdowne, that exposed serious corruption in Victoria’s public sector.
IBAC also received and assessed more than 6200 allegations of suspected public sector corruption and police misconduct, a 26 per cent increase on last financial year.
In its 2017/18 annual report tabled before Parliament yesterday, IBAC reported it received 2315 complaints and notifications of alleged corruption and police misconduct, up some 200 on last year. Each complaint or notification may contain multiple allegations.
Two of the major investigations resulted in special reports tabled before Parliament: Operation Tone, concerning drug use and associated corrupt conduct involving Ambulance Victoria paramedics, and; Operation Lansdowne, an investigation into alleged serious corruption in the Victorian vocational education and training and public transport sectors.
IBAC’s Commissioner, The Honourable Robert Redlich QC said IBAC’s 2017/18 annual report details the work Victoria’s anti-corruption commission is performing in exposing and preventing corruption and providing independent police oversight in Victoria.
‘Investigations are an integral part of IBAC’s work, for their role in exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct and their impact on deterring and preventing it,’ Commissioner Redlich said.
IBAC also held public examinations as part of the Operation Lansdowne investigation.
‘Public examinations further help educate the public sector and community about the impact of corruption and police misconduct and how it can be prevented.’ Commissioner Redlich said.
‘They have prompted the public sector to examine and improve its systems and practices. And they have encouraged people who have credible complaints about corruption or police misconduct to report it.’
This year the IBAC annual report includes a dedicated chapter outlining its work and achievements in providing independent police oversight.
‘As in previous years, IBAC’s independent oversight of Victoria Police represented a significant proportion of the organisation’s investigations with almost half of IBAC’s 65 active investigations and preliminary inquiries in 2017/18 being into alleged serious misconduct by Victoria Police.’ Commissioner Redlich said.
‘IBAC completed 72 reviews of complaints that were referred to Victoria Police to investigate, to assess whether police handled the matters appropriately and investigated them thoroughly. IBAC will conduct more of these reviews, and is boosting capacity in this area in 2018/19.’
IBAC conducted two independent audits of how Victoria Police handles complaints. Both audits recommended a number of improvements to strengthen Victoria Police practice. Victoria Police accepted all IBAC’s recommendations and will report to IBAC on its implementation of these recommendations.
During the financial year 35 people were charged with a total of 384 offences under various State and Commonwealth statutes following IBAC investigations.
‘This year also saw the first successful prosecution for misconduct in public office since legislative changes introduced in Victoria in 2016 strengthened IBAC’s ability to investigate allegations of public sector corruption and misconduct,’ Commissioner Redlich said.