Victoria’s independent police oversight agency, IBAC, has found Victoria Police failed to properly examine and review police conduct following a critical incident at the Inflation nightclub in 2017, instead focusing on the actions of civilians and not police officers.
The incident involved members of the Victoria Police Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) and two patrons at the nightclub in July 2017. This resulted in CIRT officers firing shots, injuring both patrons, one seriously.
Victoria Police and the two injured patrons reached a confidential financial settlement in regard to the incident yesterday.
Following the incident IBAC announced it would assess the adequacy of the Victoria Police review of the incident.
IBAC looked at the investigation conducted by the Armed Crime Squad and the Professional Standards Command oversight of this investigation, and found that Victoria Police has failed to conduct any Critical Incident Review of the conduct of the police.
“The failure of Victoria Police to review police conduct could result in potential ongoing risks to members of the public and Victoria Police,” IBAC Commissioner, The Honourable Robert Redlich QC said.
“Victoria Police only investigated the conduct of the patrons involved in this incident, and not the actions and conduct of police officers.
“Victoria Police has failed to assess the planning and actions of the police officers involved in this incident.
“It was IBAC’s expectation that a Critical Incident Review would be undertaken by Victoria Police. The apparent justification for not undertaking a Critical Incident Review was that there was civil litigation underway. That was not an appropriate reason for not undertaking the necessary review,” Commissioner Redlich said.
Commissioner Redlich said IBAC was advised today that Victoria Police will now conduct a Critical Incident Review.
“The failure to thoroughly review the conduct of police officers in this critical incident meant the opportunity for police to identify operational learnings and improvements has not been explored.
“Victoria Police’s oversight of these serious incidents must be thorough and impartial so that the community can be confident the police actions were appropriate and to identify how to prevent similar incidents from occurring in future.”
An IBAC audit published in 2018 of how Victoria Police oversights serious incidents resulting in serious injury or death following contact with police found that more than half of the oversights conducted by Victoria Police failed to consider evidence that should have been included, including statements from independent witnesses.