Wednesday, 01 April 2015 10:01

Public statement – Commission response to Victoria Police receipting trial

The Commission welcomes the Victoria Police Receipting Proof of Concept trial, which began this week in Moonee Valley and Dandenong. The trial is one commitment of the Victoria Police three year action plan, Equality is not the Same, an outcome of litigation in the Federal Court alleging the existence of racial profiling within Victoria Police.

The Commission works with public authorities, including Victoria Police, to help them comply with their human rights and anti-discrimination obligations under state and federal law. Victoria Police has shown considerable leadership in committing to the recommendations of Equality is not the Same and has made advances in regard to cross-cultural training, revised policy and complaints processes.

The receipting trial is an important component of Equality is not the Same. It has the potential to increase transparency around systemic patterns in police decision making. It increases police accountability by giving individuals proof of police-initiated contact that could support complaints about police behaviour. It is also beneficial that the receipts will provide individuals with the reason why they were stopped by police, which may assure community members that they were not stopped arbitrarily.

The current receipting trial, however, does not record on police receipts the ethnicity of those stopped by police. In order to answer community concerns around whether particular groups are being subjected to over-policing, we need to have an understanding of whether there are systemic trends. Without the collection and monitoring of data in this area, these questions will not be answered.

The Commission is committed to working with Victoria Police as the trial progresses to ensure that this data can be captured in the most appropriate way to provide the aggregate data we need to establish if racial profiling is occurring and to allow both Victoria Police and the Commission to be able to respond to broader community concerns.

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