Badge of the Victoria Police
Flag of the Victoria Police
|Motto||Uphold the Right |
"Tenez le Droit" until November 1986
|Formed||8 January, 1853|
|Employees||21,399 (December 2019)|
|Annual budget||A$3,011.5 Million (2018-19)|
|Operations jurisdiction||Victoria, Australia|
|Victoria Police jurisdiction|
|Size||237,659 square kilometres|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction|
|Governing body||Government of Victoria|
|Overviewed by||Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) (Formerly Office of Police Integrity)|
|Headquarters||Victoria Police Centre |
311 Spencer Street,
Docklands, VIC 3008
GPO Box 913
|Sworn officers||15,651 (December 2019)|
|Regions||Western, Eastern, North West Metro, Southern Metro|
|Stations||333 (2019), 185 police residences, 96 other facilities|
As of December 2019, Victoria Police had over 21,399 officers, including 1,484 Protective Services Officers and 253 Police Recruits in training, 2 reservists and 3,616 civilian staff and 391 custody officers across 333 police stations. It had a budget of A$3.01 billion.
Between 31 July 2018 and 18 July 2019, Victoria Police recorded 514,398 offences, an increase of 1.5% from the previous year. Victoria Police also responded to 897,016 emergency calls, a reduction of 0.3% from previous year.
The early settlers of Melbourne provided their own police force and in 1840 there were 12 constables who were paid two shillings and nine pence per day and the chief constable was Mr. W (Tulip) Wright. Charles Brodie followed Wright as chief constable in 1842 and was succeeded by W. J. Sugden who held the positions of 'town chief constable' and superintendent of the local fire brigade. By 1847 there were police in 'country centres' and the Melbourne force was composed of 'one chief officer, four sergeants, and 20 petty constables'. There was also 'a force of 28 mounted natives' enlisted and trained by DeVilliers and, later, Captain Pulteney Dana.
The Snodgrass Committee was established in early 1852 to "identify the policing needs of the colony" and, following the committee's report in September 1852, the Victoria Police was formally established on 8 January 1853 from an existing colonial police force of 875 men. Later that month William Henry Fancourt Mitchell was 'gazetted as Chief Commissioner of Police for the Colony of Victoria'.
In 1853, Victoria Police was the first police organisation in Australia who merged all its police entities into one organisation under Victoria Police Chief Commissioner William Mitchell. Victoria continues to be the only state in Australia with a Chief Commissioner of Police.
Their first major engagement was the following year, 1854, in support of British soldiers during the events leading up to, and confrontation at, the Eureka Stockade where some miners (mostly Irish), police and soldiers were killed. From a report at the time: 'the troops and Police were under arms, and just at the first blush of dawn they marched upon the camp at Eureka'.
Mitchell resigned as Chief Commissioner and Charles MacMahon, was appointed acting chief commissioner that same year. After the formation of the Victorian Police, the first recorded death on duty was Edward Gray in 1853, followed by William Hogan in 1854, both of drowning.
Six years later, three more officers (Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlan) who were hunting the Kelly Gang, were killed by them at Stringybark Creek. Two years later, in 1880, the police confronted the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan. A shoot-out ensued on 28 June, during which three members of the Kelly Gang were killed and following which Ned Kelly was shot and captured.
In 1888 senior constable John Barry produced the first Victoria Police Guide, a manual for officers. (The Victoria Police Manual, as it is now known, remains the comprehensive guide to procedure in the Victoria Police.) Police officers were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections the same year.
In October 1917, Victoria Police appointed Madge Connor as a 'police agent'--while not a full sworn officer, Connor was the first women to be made a member of a police service in Victoria, and was one of four women to be sworn in as officers in 1924, after she led a successful campaign for equal pay and status within the force.
On 31 October 1923 members of the Victoria Police Force refused duty and went on strike over the introduction of a new supervisory system. The police strike led to riots and looting in Melbourne's central business district. The Victorian government enlisted special constables, and the Commonwealth of Australia called out the Australian military. Victoria Police are the only Australian Police Service to ever go on strike.
Only a few of the strikers were ever employed as policemen again, but the government increased pay and conditions for police as a result. Members of the Victoria Police (as its officers are generally known) now have among the highest union membership rates of any occupation, at well over 90%. Their union, Police Association Victoria, remains a very powerful industrial and political force in Victoria.
In the 1980s and 1990s allegations were made against most Australian police forces of corruption and graft, culminating in the establishment of several Royal Commissions and anti-corruption watchdogs. Inquiries have also been held into Victoria Police (Beach et al.). The force was criticised because members of the public (both innocent and guilty) were being fatally shot at a rate exceeding that of all other Australian police forces combined. Related criticisms emerged after the 2008 killing of Tyler Cassidy by Victoria Police officers, which was partly blamed on inadequate training. In later years, numerous edits were made to the popflock.com resource article about the killing from police computers, in an attempt to give a more favourable impression of the officers' conduct and the subsequent investigation.
In 2001, Christine Nixon was appointed Chief Commissioner, becoming the first woman to head a police force in Australia.
In May 2004 former police officer Simon Illingworth appeared on ABC-TV's Australian Story documentary program to tell his disturbing story of entrenched police corruption in Victoria Police. He has also written a book about his experiences entitled Filthy Rat.
In early 2007, Don Stewart, a retired Supreme Court judge, called for a royal commission into Victorian police corruption. Stewart alleged that the force was riddled with corruption that the Office of Police Integrity was unable to deal with.
In early February 2009, in response to evidence that many of the 2009 Victorian bushfires were deliberately lit, chief commissioner Christine Nixon announced the creation of Taskforce Phoenix to investigate all related deaths during the fires, to be led by assistant commissioner Dannye Moloney of the crime department and was composed of around 100 police officers.
On 2 March 2009, Simon Overland was named as the new chief commissioner, replacing Christine Nixon, who was retiring. In June 2011, Overland announced his decision to resign prematurely with effect from 1 July 2011 over what many assume were the allegations of corruption, the ombudsman criticism and the government pressure.
In November 2011 then acting chief commissioner Ken Lay was named as chief commissioner after five months' caretaking.
On 29 December 2014 Lay announced he was stepping down as the chief commissioner of Victoria Police after three years of service, taking leave until his resignation took effect on 31 January 2015. Deputy chief commissioner Tim Cartwright was acting in the role until a new commissioner was appointed. On 25 May 2015, Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton of the Australian Federal Police was announced as the new chief commissioner--he took up the role in July 2015.
In April 2016, the treasurer announced an investment of $586 million into Victoria Police. From those, $540 million will be used to employ 406 additional sworn police officers and 52 additional specialist staff, technology upgrades and an expanded forensic capability of Victoria Police; $36.8 million to replace and refurbish a number of police stations in regional and rural areas; $19.4 million to continue the Community Crime Prevention Program; $63 million to enhance counter-terrorism capability, including an additional 40 sworn police officers and 48 additional specialist staff to investigate and respond to an increased terror threat. The budget also funds a package of initiatives for all Victoria Police employees to help deal with mental health problems.
In 2015, Victoria Police employed The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) to examine the nature and prevalence of sex discrimination, including predatory behaviour, amongst Victoria Police personnel.Kate Jenkins was appointed the Commissioner and, in mid December 2015, VEOHRC revealed its findings. Shortly after, on 9 December 2015, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ashton apologised over the high tolerance and prevalence of sexual harassment and the sexual discrimination and gender inequality within Victoria Police. Ashton pledged a change of direction and the implementation of all 20 recommendations by VEOHRC.
In September 2017, Transport Accident Commission (TAC) notified Victoria Police of "anomalies" in the preliminary breath tests statistics data. TAC and Victoria Police analyzed more than 17.1m tests starting February 2012 and found that 258,463, or less than 1.5% tests were probably false. As a result, in mid 2018, TAC froze $4m funding to Victoria Police operations. Victoria Police also started an internal investigation into the matter, notified IBAC and appointed former chief commissioner Neil Comrie to conduct an investigation into the causes. A preliminary report suggested that unrealistic management demands of between 50 and 100 breath tests per shift was a possible cause to faking the tests. The methods used by police officers was that of placing a finger over the straw entry hole of breath testing equipment or blowing into the straw themselves.
In April 2018, Victoria Police officers from the Preston station were suspended 'over allegations of brutality' and a fifth, from the Bendigo area, has 'been assigned to other duties' following a claim 'in which a man had his head thrown against a police cell door'.
Between 1853 and 1877, when the first Victoria Police officers emerged, the uniforms resembled the military style of the day. Mounted and foot officers wore dark blue jackets buttoned to the neck. Mounted troops wore swords whilst the Gold Escorts carried revolvers and rifles. The foot patrols, as equipment, had wooden batons, notebooks, handcuffs and a whistle to call for assistance when in need. The whistles were fixed to the officer tunic by chain which prevented losing the whistle or falling during a foot chase,
In 1877 and until 1947 Victoria Police's uniform resembled British Metropolitan Police's uniform. In 1920, the Wolseley leather "bobby" helmet was also introduced. Policeman were wearing striped pieces of cloth (brassards) on their lower left cuffs to show they were on duty. During World War II, Victoria Police issued anti-shrapnel steel helmets, also referred as "tin hats".
Between 1947 and 1979, a major uniform change took place for Victorian Police officers. The bobby helmet was replaced by a black cloth peak cap, a silver police badge was introduced along with white shirts and ties for the general police officers. In 1963, a white pith helmet with a puggaree hatband and a hand-held radio were added to the Victoria Police general duties officers. Along with a new uniform, Victoria Police also introduced the first uniform for women. The uniform for females featured a knee-length skirt, a button-up jacket, a shirt and tie, tights, and peak hats made to fit a lady's hairstyle. Starting with 1972 until 1986, female police officers also carried handbags custom-made to hold batons and firearms.
Between 1979 and 2013, police uniforms underwent a number of small changes and there were a total of 83 combinations that a police officer could wear. The changes were mainly as need based for the general duties policing with the addition of capsicum sprays, handgun, baton, etc. In 1981, female police officers were approved trousers as part of their uniform and they were issued 54 pantyhose a year. In 2001, the baseball cap was introduced along with akubra and a woollen jumper. One major change happened in 2008 with the introduction of the Integrated Operational Equipment Vest.
In November 1986, Victoria Police announced the transition of the motto from "Tenez le droit" to "Uphold the right". This change would start taking place in December 1986.
In June 2013, the new dark navy uniform was introduced to all officers as the new standard. The pants are made from rip-stop fabric, the undergarment made from cotton stretch which can be short sleeved or long sleeved and is to be worn under the ballistic vest. Baseball caps remained, although they are darker in colour than pre 2013. The new dark uniform was designed to look more professional and to hide blood, dirt and sweat. The dark blue uniform was modelled after the Oxfordshire and Northumberland police attires.
|Name||Post-nominals||Term began||Term ended|
|Sir William Mitchell||1852||1854|
|Sir Charles MacMahon||1854||1858|
|Sir George Steward||1919||1920|
|Sir John Gellibrand||1920||1922|
|Sir Thomas Blamey||1925||1936|
Victoria Police has a quasi-military rank structure. The modern policing model developed by Sir Robert Peel for the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century used a military-like organisational structure. Victoria Police has 12 legislated ranks from Constable through to Chief Commissioner with two of the twelve ranks now obsolete. There are also two classifications received through progression First Constable and Leading Senior Constable. In 2002, Victoria Police created the classification of Leading Senior Constable and in December 2011 created the classification of First Constable for confirmed constables both with its own insignia. Reservist is also a rank for former Victoria Police officers who re-join Victoria Police for a non-operational role carrying out administrative duties.
The ranks of chief inspector and chief superintendent are no longer promotable ranks since the changes in hierarchy in 2014. The previous and last chief superintendent, Peter McDonald, retired from Victoria Police on 30 September 2014. The last Chief Inspector Christopher K. Coster retired on 6 June 2019 after 45 years service. He was the only Chief Inspector to wear the current style and colour uniform.
|Rank||Increment||1 July 2020|
|Commander||1 - 4||$197,492 - $209,855|
|Superintendent||1-8||$165,045 - $193,619|
|Inspector||1-6||$146,054 - $162,171|
|Senior sergeant||1-6||$128,349 - $136,319|
|Sergeant||1-6||$114,089 - $123,972|
|Leading senior constable||13-16||$102,824 - $107,849|
|Senior Constable||5-12||$87,857 - $101,805|
|Constable||1-4||$71,947 - $80,085|
|Rank||Increment||1 July 2020|
|PSO Senior Sergeant||1-6||$97,757 - $103,267|
|PSO Sergeant||1-6||$90,357 - $95,890|
|PSO Senior||1-10||$71,639 - $81,340|
|PSO 1st Class||3-4||$69,450 - $70,841|
There are a number of other penalties that a police officer benefits, including civilian clothing, camping out, uniform allowance, daily meals or attendance to court, courses, trips away from home, etc. Other allowances include leadership allowance for Sergeants and Senior Sergeants, capability allowance for Constable - Senior Constable and PSO's.
Police officers are entitled to the following:
Recruits are paid a salary whilst training. During the first 12 weeks, recruits are paid $52,370 per annum. At the end of week 12 when a recruit becomes a (constable) sworn officer of Victoria Police is paid $71,947 per annum. Part-time is not available for recruits. Training is ongoing for first two years as a probationary constable. Study leave is available post probationary stage. Further in-house courses and training are available
All sworn officers start at the lowest rank of constable and are able to progress and be promoted to higher ranks. After their 2-year probationary period, the Constable receives their confirmation and becomes a permanent officer of Victoria Police as a First Constable.
Constables are promoted in situ to senior constable after two years of becoming a confirmed Constable and successful completion of re-introduced Senior Constable exams. Promotion beyond senior constable is highly competitive. The newly promoted officer is in probation for 1 year.
Leading senior constable is awarded "in situ" but only after assessments have been made against the senior constable's ability to move to the higher position. Leading senior constables are now capable of being upgraded to acting sergeant and it is expected that the position is one that people will move through as they are promoted.
Promotion to the rank of sergeant is based upon an application and interview process after a vacancy is made available due to transfer or retirement of a pre-existing sergeant. Senior constables must first successfully complete the Sergeant Level Pre-promotional Qualifying Exam. A sergeant normally manages a team during a shift, like Patrol Supervisor of a Police Service Area (PSA) for a shift. A detective sergeant is typically in charge of a team in a specific part of either local detectives at police stations or crime squads.
A senior sergeant oversees the sergeants and traditionally performs more administrative work and middle management duties, for example coordination of policing operations, or specialist work other than active patrol duties. General-duties senior sergeants are traditionally in charge of most police stations or can be a sub-charge (or second in charge) of larger (usually 24-hour) police stations. In each division, or group of divisions on a night shift, a senior sergeant is the division supervisor for a shift and is responsible for managing and overseeing incidents in their area. Detective senior sergeants are usually the officer in charge of crime investigation units.
Additional classifications are available for officers skilful enough, and upon completion of certain training and work-based performances, for classification of detective at senior constable level. Detectives also hold classification up to superintendent.
Victoria Police divides the state into four geographic regions with each region allocated dedicated resources and each region is commanded by a Assistant Commissioner. The regions are:
Victoria Police has the following departments and commands that service the whole of Victoria:
The Protective Services Unit (PSU) was established in 1986 following a security review. The first deployment of a Protective Services Officer (PSO) was on 1 May 1988. The PSU has two divisions: Security and Transit. PSU is part of Transit and Public Safety Command (TPSC), along with the Dog Squad, Mounted Branch, Search and Rescue, Special Operations Group, Water Police, Operations Response Unit, Sex Industry Coordination Unit.
The PSU security division maintains static security at designated locations in Victoria, mainly in Melbourne metropolitan area. PSOs have specific powers for the area they serve.
Designated areas include:
PSOs are based on the Victorian suburban railway network and are deployed at all train stations in the Melbourne metropolitan area. PSOs focus mostly on anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug related offences, weapon offences, property damage, either individual or corporate, crimes against the person.
PSOs powers at train stations include:
See main article Mounted Branch
Victoria maintained police mounted units prior to the establishment of Victoria Police. The first mounted police unit was formed in 1838. The Mounted Branch is the second oldest continuously operating mounted police unit in the world after the NSW Mounted Police. Historically, the Mounted Branch has taken part in operations against Bushrangers, and guarded gold shipments from the Goldfields. For a lot of its history, the force had largely operated from its barracks at Southbank from 1912, but is now based at Attwood, near Melbourne airport. Modern duties include crowd control, patrolling, public relations and sports events.
Recognition of the bravery and good conduct of Victoria Police employees is shown through the awarding of honours and decorations. Employees (including both sworn and unsworn personnel) are eligible to receive awards both as a part of the Australian Honours System and the internal Victoria Police awards system.
Victoria Police employees, like those of their counterparts in other states police forces, are eligible for awards under the Australian Honours System, including:
|Valour Award||Victoria Police Star||Medal for Excellence||Medal for Courage||Medal for Merit||Service Medal|
Equipment is carried by officers in a nylon equipment belt, also known as a gun or weapon belt. The nylon belt, specifically designed to be very light-weight, was first issued in 2003 as a replacement for worn leather belts. The belt consists of one firearm holster placed on the hip (either side), one firearm magazine pouch, one ASP (baton) pouch, one OC Spray pouch, one hand cuff pouch and one holder for the portable radio.
Victoria Police started a roll-out of a new uniform design in June 2013 for sworn members, protective service officers, reservists and recruits. The new uniform was the first time in over thirty years Victoria Police had significantly changed their uniform, which at the time of replacement could be worn in over eighty different combinations. The new design can be worn in either an operational or station/office dress configuration.
Other holsters can be added to the belt to suit members duties such as a clip to hold the polycarbonate baton or mag light. In 2007/08, the chief commissioner approved the issue of firearm holsters which could be strapped around the members thighs, to replace the low-riding belt gun holster. These holsters are not standard issue but are issued to members upon request, and are commonly requested by members who suffer from back aches (as a result of heavy utility belt), or those who find it more operationally sound to draw their firearms from a lower position (as this option offers a more comfortable reach).
Operational Dress of Victoria Police consists of navy blue cargo/tactical pants, a navy blue long/short sleeved undergarment or shirt, an integrated operational equipment vest (IOEV), a navy blue baseball cap or a wide Brimmed hat (common in rural areas) and black boots. When police members or protective service officers are assigned to duties where they are required to be easily identified, or for occupational health and safety reasons, a high-visibility yellow cover may be put on the IOEV. In 2018, a new style of ballistic vest was announced.
Station/office dress consists of navy blue trousers, navy blue long or short sleeved shirts (which can be worn either open-neck or with a tie), navy blue peaked hat and black boots/shoes.
Some specialist units of Victoria Police, such as the Air Wing, Public Order Response Team, Critical Incident Response Team, Search and Rescue Squad and the Special Operations Group, wear uniforms which are customised to their specialist roles.
Officers are issued with the M&P40 semi-automatic pistol and also carry an ASP brand 21-inch expandable baton, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray, handcuffs and small torch. The vast majority of officers carry a Motorola brand portable radio (with or without handpiece) for use on either the Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) or Regional Mobile Radio (RMR) network.
In the 1970s, officers were trained to use the FN Model 1910 .32 semi-automatic pistol which they could carry concealed in their tunic. In 1979, Victoria Police began replacing the Model 1910 with the Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver. By the mid-1980s, all officers were routinely openly carrying a revolver.
In the mid-2000s, Victoria Police was set to become the last police service in Australia still using a revolver. Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon was reluctant to transition to a modern semi-automatic pistol. The Bracks Labor government was convinced by the police union and made an election policy for the 2006 Victorian state election to allocate $10 million in funding which would also cover equipping all police cars with tasers.
Nixon was placed in a precarious position as police operational decisions including equipment are made independent of government. In September 2007, months after the Bracks labor government had been re-elected, Nixon set up an Independent Expert Advisory Panel to advise her if the revolver needed replacing. In March 2008, the panel recommended to replace the revolver with a self-loading pistol. In May 2008, a police officer was shot in the leg during a violent shootout in which he had to re-load his revolver. The police union erroneously informed the media the officer had been shot whilst re-loading and called for semi-automatic pistols.
On 6 June 2008, Nixon announced that Victoria Police would upgrade to semi-automatic pistols and would not be equipping officers with tasers. On 29 April 2010, Victoria Police announced that the M&P40 semi-automatic pistol with a tactical light had been selected to replace the revolver. The roll-out of the new personal issue firearm commenced in November 2010 with all officers required to complete a four-day training course over 18 months.
On 19 December 2019, Victoria Police announced the purchase of 300 Daniel Defense DDM4V7S semi-automatic rifles. The rifles will be issued to the Public Order Response Team (PORT) and four 24-hour regional uniform stations - Geelong, Ballarat, Morwell and Shepparton to be securely stored in vehicles. Over 700 Victoria Police officers are to be trained in the use of the rifles to be able to respond to critical incidents. The roll-out of the rifles will commence in June 2020 and will be completed by the end of 2021. The Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) are both issued with the SIG MCX SBR rifle and a variety of shotguns.
On 7 March 2014, the Water Police purchased a new catamaran vessel. The $1.9 million, 14.9-metre-long boat will assist in the search for people stranded at sea or washed overboard and during periods of total darkness, poor light and rough seas. The vessel has the ability to scan the seabed for sunken vessels, and a radar can be switched into heat seeking mode to help locate a person at night, or in situations of poor visibility and rough conditions.
The main training for Victoria Police during the first 31 weeks, until a member becomes fully operational, is done at Victoria Police Academy.
In order to increase the Academy's capacity to accommodate the training of an additional 1700 police and 940 PSOs by November 2014, $15.4 million was provided to Victoria Police to upgrade the Victoria Police Academy in 2013-14.
The significant works include:
Construction of a new police training facility alongside the new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre in Craigieburn commenced in 2013-14.
The new $30 million Victoria Police OTST facility will replace the existing facility located at Essendon Fields, and was due for completion in March 2015.
The new facility will house administration and training staff and include a specially-designed indoor firing range, scenario training village, classrooms, an auditorium, conference centre and fitness facilities. Police will be required to undertake compulsory training twice a year at the facility.
|Age grouping (years)||Police||Recruits||Reservists||PSOs||Public servants|
Memorials to officers killed on duty are maintained at the Chapel of Remembrance within the main chapel of the Victoria Police Academy at Glen Waverley in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. There is also a memorial to police officers who have died on duty in Kings Domain, Melbourne, as well as the National Police Memorial in Canberra. Online Honour Rolls are maintained on the Victoria Police website: