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Victoria Police needs a new strategy after year from hell

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Unless we see a new orientation from the leadership of Victoria Police on some key issues, the state police minister should seriously think about taking a more interventionist role in resetting its broad direction.

Victoria Police is not a judicial body, but it should at least act judiciously.Credit:Paul Rovere

The year is not over, but I don't think Victoria Police would chalk up 2019 as its most illustrious. It certainly began poorly.

In February, IBAC began hearings into Victoria Police practices when taking witness statements, practices most notoriously evidenced in the investigation surrounding the tragic murders of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller in 1998.

IBAC noted the corrosive power of these practices and their potential to compromise police investigations and pervert the course of justice.

Counsel Assisting IBAC, Jack Rush, QC, said in his opening address that “(At) this stage of the IBAC investigations there is little to no information from Victoria Police save that these practices have been properly or appropriately addressed.”

That was on February 4. Yet, nearly one month later when public hearings concluded, IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich, QC, stated that "[i]mproper practices by Victoria Police in preparing witness statements … during the Silk-Miller murder trials has emerged during IBAC's hearings".

IBAC investigated past and present witness-taking practices, beyond those that were applied during the Silk-Miller investigation and Victoria Police’s Lorimer investigation into those very practices.

But what’s........

© The Age