It is important that genuine grievances against police officers are reported so they can be investigated, and police oversight bodies are alerted to systemic issues.
The majority of complaints against police officers are investigated by serving members of the police force. Some complaints are even investigated by police officers working at the same station as the police officer being complained about.
At the time of writing (30 June 2018), the Victorian Parliament has recently conducted an inquiry into the external oversight of police corruption and misconduct. The parliamentary committee is due to publish its report by 23 August 2018.
While complaints about police officers can lead to disciplinary action and criminal charges, less than 10 per cent of complaints about police officers that are investigated by police officers are “substantiated” (i.e. found to be true).
In 2013, less than 4 per cent of assault complaints made against serving police officers were found to be true. Complainants are often dissatisfied with the complaint process and outcomes.
This chapter sets out the procedure for making a complaint, provides information to enable you to decide whether to lodge a complaint, and briefly outlines the types of court proceedings that can follow police misconduct.