Today’s release of IBAC’s special report into Operation Turon, the investigation into alleged police misconduct of then Assistant Commissioner Mr Brett Guerin, should send a strong warning not only to Victoria Police, but also to the Andrews Labor Government.
The warnings contained in the special report, provided to help educate about the detrimental impacts that improper conduct can have on the wider community, must be heeded.
The finding by IBAC that Mr Guerin’s behaviour risked damaging the integrity of and confidence in Victoria Police is important. It is a timely reminder that we must always remember that the actions of one do not reflect the actions of all, and that appropriate oversight and training must be in place.
Mr Guerin was the subject of civil litigation regarding his conduct when he was a Superintendent, and this information was known to Victoria Police’s Legal Services Department. IBAC’s finding that this was not shared with the Professional Standards Command or the People Development Command when Mr Guerin was promoted to Assistant Commissioner is alarming.
The delay noted by IBAC of Victoria Police in implementing a more robust social media policy must be addressed. Victoria Police were advised by IBAC in 2019 to update their social media policy but that work was only recently completed. In the last three years, IBAC has received 120 allegations related to misuse of social media by Victoria Police employees.
Senior leaders in Government organisations have an important responsibility to guide employees in appropriate standards of conduct that are in line with community expectations, but also to act in appropriate manners themselves. We have often not seen this from the Andrews Labor Government. They have now been warned that they are being watched, and we will see if their behaviour changes.