This report presents the results of the inspections conducted by the Victorian Inspectorate (the VI) from 1 July to 31 December 2021 of records belonging to the following five Victorian agencies authorised to use surveillance devices:

The Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) (the SD Act) provides the legislative framework for these agencies to use surveillance devices to investigate, or obtain evidence of the commission of, an offence that has been, is being, is about to be, or is likely to be, committed. Law enforcement officers of these agencies can apply to the Supreme Court for a surveillance device warrant with respect to the following types of devices: data; listening; optical; and tracking. For tracking devices only, an application may also be made to the Magistrates’ Court. Victoria’s Public Interest Monitor (PIM) is entitled to make submissions on warrant applications. In addition to court-issued warrants, senior officers of Victoria Police and IBAC can, in certain emergency situations, authorise the use of surveillance devices.

The role of the VI is established by the SD Act, and it ensures independent oversight of the above agencies with respect to compliance with the SD Act. The VI is required to inspect from time to time the records of each agency and report on the results of its inspections at six-monthly intervals to each House of Parliament as well as the Attorney-General. The use of surveillance devices by Victorian government agencies is highly intrusive, and therefore the VI’s role is designed to assure the public that the lawfulness of agency actions is subject to independent checks.

This report gives the inspection results for warrants that ceased in the six-month period ending 30 June 2021, as well as destruction activity undertaken and evidentiary certificates issued during the same period. The VI inspected 100% of the records made available at the inspections.

The VI notes in this report the cooperative and transparent engagement by the officers of each agency whose records were subject to our inspection. While the VI reports on some errors, no significant compliance issues were identified. The VI commends the remedial actions taken by the relevant agencies to address the identified errors.

The VI has not made any recommendations as a result of its inspections of surveillance device records for the 1 July to 31 December 2021 reporting period.