Under the TCPA, the VI provides independent oversight of Victoria Police’s powers to:
- Conduct covert searches of premises under the authority of a warrant [Part 2]
- Detain and question people, including children, without charge [Part 2AA], and
- Use special police powers, under the authority of a Supreme Court order or, in certain circumstances, under an interim authorisation [Part 3A].
These powers were given to Victoria Police to assist them to prevent, or respond to, a terrorist act or the threat of a terrorist act.
To date, the VI has only been required to inspect operational records associated with covert search warrants. The inspection methodology detailed in Appendix A sets out our criteria to assess Part 2 records.
The VI inspects a broad range of documents containing procedural and training related material and also receives briefings from senior CTLU personnel to assess Victoria Police’s preparatory activities as well as its responsiveness to any issues we have raised.
In conjunction with the criteria at Appendix A, the following provides an overview of the checks the VI ordinarily makes for its inspection of TCPA records.
Findings – Preparatory activities
The VI seeks information from the CTLU on Victoria Police’s progress in delivering training to its staff; making improvements to standard procedures on the exercise of TCPA powers including the development of templates; and stakeholder engagement with associated agencies. The VI considers these preparatory activities an important aspect of Victoria Police demonstrating that it has developed processes that enable it to comply with TCPA provisions.
Set out below are the issues addressed by the VI during inspections and the types of materials examined or advice sought.
Have officers been trained in their obligations?
- The VI reviews the training programs developed and delivered to officers with a role under the TCPA.
Has Victoria Police further developed its policies and procedures for using TCPA powers?
- The VI seeks an update on any changes to Victoria Police’s policies and procedures, including templates, for using TCPA powers.
Has Victoria Police engaged with other bodies that have a role in relation to the powers under Parts 2, 2AA and 3A?
- The VI considers Victoria Police’s engagement with other bodies, such as the Public Interest Monitor and the Commission for Children and Young People, on roles and functions under the TCPA, including participation in any scenario-based training exercises.
- The VI also considers communication arrangements with other agencies such as the development of memoranda of understanding.
Findings – Transparency and cooperation
The VI considers an agency’s transparency, its cooperation during inspections, and its responsiveness to suggestions and issues to be a measure of its compliance culture. The VI considers:
- The level of engagement and cooperation with the VI’s inspection program, including responsiveness to any suggestions or issues raised.
- Self-disclosure for any compliance issues.